Lost Treasures

As a child growing up I didn't see much of my father. He was always out on the road, going somewhere. Then the company that my father worked for was bought and sold, and they fired all of the pre-existing employees to make room for the new ones. He was laid off. In many ways that was a blessing because that summer my dad and I grew closer to each other.

I was still pretty young, but I remember the way I would anticipate the hour in which my father and I would take Max, our dog, for a walk in the field behind our house. We knew the man who owned the property; so with his permission we had made a gate accessible to the field. Max loved the daily walks almost as much as I did. I loved to hunt around for "treasures" which usually consisted of golf balls, old rusted locks, one time a bike, and some other things. My dad would always ask me, "What do you think we will find this time?" and my only reply would be tugging on his hand to hurry up.

The three of us spent many hours tracking through the tall grasses and small hills of our field. Max would sometimes lead our little expedition and other times I would be the one to drag the both of them along. I learned many things about wild life in that field. To this day I can still spot gofer tracks or a hole that a snake could make, and I will never forget how my father taught me never to play with rotten tree limbs, for black widow spiders loved to hide in them.

On one particular walk we decided to name some significant places in the field. An area out to the left in the far corner was a place my father and I had dubbed the cow bone cemetery. Old bones were always covering the ground in that area, and directly before that was my favorite spot. Nestled in a small ditch was an old tree that was growing crooked. Its branches were low to the ground, a perfect spot to hide in, or to just sit around and read. I enjoyed racing Max down the side of the steep ditch and onto the tree's trunk. That was the first tree I ever climbed. I possessively called it "my tree". I used to get mad at anyone who would walk down there and climb it. Next to my tree was a small valley that would fill up with water every time it would rain. This was my lake since it was next to my tree. Another tree that could be spotted from our kitchen window was also an important landmark in this field. It was old and dead, and lightning had struck it numerous times, but it still stood tall. It was kind of creepy looking so this one we referred to as the haunted tree. The name fit it perfectly.

When the summer passed, my father went back to work. He no longer stayed home with everyday and of course the walks in the field became fewer and less frequent. Max grew old and could no longer make those trips across the field. He died a few years later. In memory of how much he loved his walks, we buried him right there in the field. For a long time I never visited my tree. To go back there today I would never recognize it. My tree has been cut down and a school has been placed behind the cow bone cemetery. The haunted tree still stands tall but the cows and the horses have long gone away. However, the memories are forever embedded into the soil. I miss our walks in the field and the time I spent with my father. I will never forget those precious memories of hunting through the field looking for lost treasures.