Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: Mr. Oaks
By Paul Potenza
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He stood silently as we moved into our first new house. He had lived next door for many years. Even without him making any remarks we knew that he welcomed us. He did his best to show us how much he cared. A lot of his friends had come and gone but Mr. Oaks had stayed.
He had a lot of character. Although he was elderly, he was extremely strong. You could tell by looking at him that he had seen his share of troubles, yet he stood ramrod straight.
He was a good neighbor. He actually played with our son Mark when no one else was around. There weren’t a lot of other kids in the neighborhood but this guy never seemed to mind Mark hanging around. In fact, he appeared to enjoy it. He was a good teacher too. He taught our son about living and perseverance and strength and quiet dignity.
He also helped a somewhat skinny boy develop some badly needed upper body strength. He was fun to be around too because he knew some neat tricks. He could predict the seasons and he taught us how to do it too. He taught us a lot about science and often participated in school projects. He was friends with the wild animals and could actually get birds and squirrels to come right up to him and sit on his shoulders.
He had a bit of a mischievous side too. Lots of times he would throw stuff into our yard when we weren’t looking, causing me to have to go out there and rake it up because I could never prove that he had done it. He would just stand there and watch me without comment. Of course he was quite the taskmaster too. During the summers when I told my son to mow the lawn before I got home from work, I could count on Mr. Oaks to stand by and supervise.
And he taught me about God.
Just by watching him I learned that it was O.K. to bend, but never to break. I learned to root myself deeply because when the storms came, and they would come, if you weren’t firmly planted, you would fall.
Everyone should have a neighbor like Mr. Oaks.
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