When leaves start to turn on the trees some folks complain that it means the end of summer. Poets reflect on the promise of a new life to the soon-to-be-bare trees. And me? Well, my thoughts turn to another kind of tree.
On a gorgeous Indian summer day, such as those we’ve enjoyed lately, my thoughts go back to similar days at the lake when I was in my early teens. Mom and I grabbed our buckets and we were off to the woods “hickory nuttin.’”
The best trees were high on a hill where the view was breathtaking. Immediately below was a farm and just beyond it we had the view of the entire length of Cedar Lake. It’s probably the only place around the entire five mile lake where nothing gets in the way of the view.
I don’t know how mom found out about the hickory nut trees there, and I never asked. Actually, though, I don’t even eat hickory nuts and I always knew those buckets filled with nuts meant a long winter of picking meats out of them. Picking out nut meats was our parents’ pet disciplinary action in winter. Summer months, of course, it was pulling weeds in the garden.
I didn’t care what we were up there for, though. I just loved the hour-long hike through the woods with mom and the beautiful view that I knew was there when we’d reach the top of the hill.
The squirrels never bothered us when it came to competing for nuts. They took what they needed and left the rest for us. I was always surprised none of our neighbors came up there. Didn’t they know about these trees? The trees must have been there for generations because a hickory tree won’t even produce until it is 30 years old. I didn’t care. If they enjoyed the view on the TV screen more, that was fine. If they knew we were saving only pennies by having our own supply of nuts for baking, I didn’t care. We weren’t in it to save money on the grocery bill.
Nothing compared to the time we were enjoying together and the view we had up at our favorite nuttin’ trees.