A Talk with an Oak Tree
Hello, old oak tree. I bet you've been around for a long, long
time. Maybe you were here before there was a Fort Hood, Texas. Isn't
it funny, old tree, how time passes by?
I bet, if you could talk, you could really tell some interesting
stories. Soldiers from three wars have stood under your branches and
talked to you.
Maybe you even knew my brother. He was here in 1967, a tall, blond
teenager with a slight grin. His name was Jerry.
As dusk settle in and shadowy, uniformed figures stroll past, I
can't help but imagine his walking these same paths. Across these
quiet fields, I can see hundreds of men marching. Is it possible, old
tree, that I might be walking where he once walked?
Standing in line at the PX or the snack bar, I can almost hear him
telling his buddies how his feet hurt or what would be the first thing
he would do when he got home.
And, when I pass the old-time barracks, affectionately called the
"chicken coups," I ask myself, "Which one did he call
home?" These images swirl through my mind with such vividness
that they almost see, like my own memories.
Hear those choppers cutting through the night, old tree? Their only
competition now are the crickets chirping. Did he listen to their
songs? Perhaps he was too tired at the end of the day's training. Or,
maybe he had other things on his mind.
I don't mean to dwell on these things, old tree. They seem to float
up with the dust. Did you know my brother? Did he rest his head
against your trunk and cuss the heat?
I'd ask him, old tree, but he's not around any more --
Vietnam, you know. "MISSING IN ACTION," the telegram