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Henry William Tyler
There were many things that Henry routinely looked at and tried to remember over the course of his life. He tried to preserve the events and happenings that meant the most to him and quickly weeded out those times that would tend only to gender him pain or regret. Henry’s fondest and most important memories were always centered on three huge things in his life. The first being His one and only true love, Helen Elaine Meyers Tyler. The second of course, was his lovely daughter Amelia and her family, and lastly something that may have seemed mighty strange to most people was Henry’s best friend. Henry was of a mind that one could find friends in just about anything. Although Henry found many friends and was loved and respected by many, his best friend was not a person but instead it was an old Oak tree. Yep, again it might seem strange but the old Oak tree had been every bit as much of a friend to Henry as any person could’ve been to him.
The Oak tree loomed tall and strong over the entire side yard of what used to be Henry’s folk’s place. She stood like a huge giant and always had her limbs extended in what Henry felt was a welcoming embrace. She participated in just about everything of any significance in Henry’s life. Henry would tell you, that she probably knew more about him than any person that he had ever met, with the exception of maybe his wife Helen. No one could keep a secret like the old Oak could. She kept all of Henry’s secrets from the time he was a young boy until he was well, of a mature age.
Sometimes Henry found that he would have times when he couldn’t quiet remember things like he used to. He knew that the stories were all there, but somehow he just couldn’t seem to put them all together to make them make sense to anybody. Sometimes the stories never made sense to him either. He would become frustrated that he couldn’t figure everything out. He struggled to know the difference between what was real and what were figments of his imagination. He couldn’t quite make all the pieces come together properly. It was as though he had all of the puzzle pieces, which were persons, events and important times in his life, but they all wouldn’t fit where Henry thought they should have fit. When he would try to share his thoughts with someone, well frankly, he just couldn’t make them make sense. However, the old Oak tree knew all there was to know about Henry and when he would go back to visit her in his mind, it seemed as though she helped him fit the pieces together where they made a clearer picture. Then Henry would remember what he wanted to remember.
“Well here I am old friend back under your outstretched branches and I was wondering do you remember the day of that fire at the city square? I heard someone mention the Fourth of July was coming and it just set my mind to thinking about that big fire at the city square. You say that I’m the one who started that fire? Now let me see, what happened again on that Fourth of July? Oh, now I seem to recall that Mr. Davis from over in Scioto County came to Mason Creek to Old man Harper’s hardware store. I remember that he had a whole delivery truck full of fireworks that were illegal in our county, but I being a young lad, I was somewhat curious to see how they worked. Well anyway, I climbed on the back of Mr. Davis’ truck and helped myself to a goodly supply of those fireworks. Old friend, do you remember what happened next? Yep, it definitely turned in to a Fourth of July celebration that Mason Creek wouldn’t forget for years to come. How was I to know that those fireworks were real explosives? I could’ve killed my fool self. I remember after the fire was started that I ran to you like a scared rabbit. I climbed up in your branches and hid until the sparks stopped flying and the smoke cleared. I thought my Dad would thrash me a good one if he found out that it was me what started that fire, but nothing, not the first lick. I was sure he and my Momma knew it was me. What do you think? Yep they knew… hee hee, and so did old man Harper.
“Hello Mr. Tyler, it’s time for your medicine.” Nurse Wanda interrupted. “What was so humorous?” She probed.
“Oh it’s a secret between me and an old friend!” Henry answered with a chuckle.
“It must have been some secret.” Nurse Wanda replied.
Then suddenly silence filled the room as if Henry physically left, but he was not gone, he just seemed to fade away to some place no one could go except for him.
“Mr. Tyler? Mr. Tyler? Nurse Wanda continued to call, but to no avail.
Henry offered no more conversation as he stared forward with just the slightest grin upon his face.
“Well, I’ll be back later Mr. Tyler to check on you okay? Maybe, you can tell me your dirty little secret then.” Nurse Wanda teased as she left Henry alone in his nursing home room.
Please Tune in next time for Part 3 and the continuing story of If Oak Trees Could Talk! I would love to hear from you if you have any comments! firstname.lastname@example.org