This year at Christmas, we presented my Dad with a clock that was made from the round of an old oak tree that grew on the farm where he had grown up.  When we were cutting the tree up for wood, all kinds of stuff fell out of the stump.  The items must have been placed in the crotch of the tree and had grown down inside over time.  My sister put together a shadow box with all of the things we'd found inside.  My uncle Jim provided her with a chunk of the rope that held the tree swing as well.  I also got a copy of a picture we had found of the tree growing along side the barn in 1960-something.


The Keeper Of Time


The woodpile was once again short,

but we had those rounds in the yard.

We hadn’t be able to split them last year

cause the old oak wood was so hard


We rented a splitter, the standup kind

and readied ourselves for the task.

Who knew we would open a wrinkle in time

giving us all kinds of questions to ask.


We’d brought the rounds from Uncle Jim’s

who’s place is where Dad grew up.

Back then it was the old Staas dairy

and Dad was no more than a pup.


As we split a round we saw a flash.

Something metal fell out with a thump.

And an old pressure line wrench lay at our feet.

What else would we find in that stump?


Next we found a piece of wire,

a nail and a chunk of tin.

Each item that we’d encounter

was tossed in a stack and marked with a grin.


Apparently the crotch of the tree

had acted as a “catch-all” place.

And each of the family had tossed something there

in their part of the day to day race


The oak was sort of a cornerstone

and was used for many things.

A shady spot to work on equipment

and a place to hang the tree swing.


They hung the pigs there at butcher time.

A horseshoe pit was nearby.

They made homemade ice cream beneath it.

All the time the days slid by.


Dad even mentioned it was a resting place

to drink beer at the end of the day.

But even good things must come to an end

at least that’s what the old timers say.


So Dad, here it is, a piece of that tree

with the items it guarded just fine.

And now as a clock it seems quite fitting

it remains “The Keeper Of Time”



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