A Nice Package


A nice package arrived in the mail the other day. Inside was some packing material and a ziploc ™ bag. In the bag was a wad of wet paper towel, and inside the towel were 14 sprouted acorns.

This was a gift from our friends from the Elk Rapids area in the northwest part of the lower peninsula. These people and Alice and I go way back… back before either of us had children. We all lived together in a small community that was dedicated to starting a school for gifted children. I call it our “hippie” phase of life, although I’m not sure our friends would agree. Once we left that place, we maintained sporadic contact with them, but it recently became so tenuous that we were afraid we’d lost them.

It seems so easy these days. Many people let their land lines go, since their cell phones do everything they need. They often change email addresses too. With them, we were down to a phone number, which I dialed. It had one of those generic answering machine messages that could have been anyone’s. And I received no call back for weeks.

Finally one day the phone rang and there they were. We had a great visit, and it turned out that we were planning a trip to their area and arranged it so we could take them out to dinner. Alice and I both agreed that when we arrived at their home and sat in their living room, we felt as though the decades that had gone by just evaporated. We were teasing, reminiscing, laughing, throat-lumping; all at the same time. We took them out to dinner and had another lovely visit, and all too soon it was time to go.

Before we left, the subject of oak trees was broached. It seems that acorns would be a good food source except for the fact that the nuts are laced with tannin, which imparts a bitter taste. It also seems that the Native Americans talked about some oak trees that had acorns that were sweet, ie they didn’t need to have the tannin removed to make them edible. The acorns that arrived in the package were supposed to be from one such sweet oak tree.

oakSo last weekend, armed with my shovel and some orange flags, I hiked our property and scoped out likely places for baby oak trees to live. I flagged them so I can visit them next spring and offer some assistance in case the little oaklings need it. What a nice thing to do for someone. It is said that only the optimist plants trees. It must be a super optimist that sends sprouted acorns in the mail.

3 Responses to “A Nice Package”

  1. peter lehnert says:

    hello ted, there are white oat trees growing along the menominee river, way too far north of their usual range, planted by the native americans, hundreds of years ago. the ancestral trees are at least 400 miles south. the acorns from these trees are almost all eaten by wild turkeys and rodents and deer, so very few last long enough to grow. when you come visit we can talk about this. pete

  2. marj krumm says:

    While looking for recent Panama updates, I found this entry about the acorns. Thanks again for sharing them with us. We planted ours in pots in the basement except for two that I brought up to watch on the kitchen window sill. It seems that the acorns have burrowed into the soil; they are not close to the surface anymore, except for one in the kitchen. It has just a tiny curl of green sticking through the surface. I think these sprouts will require a lot of patience. Marj

  3. Dina Ariel says:

    They say it takes 70 years for a carob/SJohn’s bread tree to bear fruit. How long for oak trees? I wonder if there are any here in Israel. We need some new seedlings of all kinds, to make up for the trees lost in our snowstorm.

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