There was a tree that I grew up with. It was not an outstanding tree really, other than it grew in the front yard of my mom and dad's house. It was a mulberry tree, a male, first planted when the house was constructed around 1959. It watched over my friend's and my childhood adventures, like a silent relative.
The tree functioned as hideaway, home-base for games of tag, watchtower, and spaceship. The tree did make shade but I don't remember actually sitting under it for this reason. Mostly the tree served as our most visible playground monitor, an old friend who enjoyed our company. The tree never asked for much. My mom would appreciate it when my dad neglected to perform winter pruning as she always believed that he would cut it back too much, and most of the neighbors agreed. But pruned or not, it's branches would grow each summer to make a friendly but formidable, and undemanding habitat each summer for us kids.
Years go by and I move away from home. My children and grandchildren would play in and around the tree. This always brought on a satisfying, nostalgic sense of deja vu in me. In these later years, I would deep water the tree on visits to my mom, spending a little time appreciating our shared personal history.
The last time I visited, mom had considerable house renovation and landscaping done and the tree was chopped down/dug up. I visited with the big, old stump awaiting pickup at the side of the house. Old friend, thank you for all the fun. I miss you.