The Aged Oak and the Rusty Neckalce This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 15, 2012
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In the tree there laid a silver chain, a thin rusty necklace with a little weathered charm conjoining the two ends. The little charm was a small silver heart that had a barely visible Inscription on the back, “For my Little Pea”. This necklace had not always sat entwined within the branches of the aged oak. Long ago this necklace sat upon the neck of a daughter, given to her by her mother. The girl’s mother loved her very much but was never able to give her much because her father had left many years ago right after she was born, so this left them with very little, as it was hard for her mother to keep a job because she was very sick. The locket was a present for the little girls seventh birthday. Her mother had saved up a lot of money in the past months so she could get something nice for her daughter. On the day of her birthday, her mother presented her with the locket.
“It’s beautiful Mama!” The little girl cried; it was the most beautiful she had ever owned.
“I’m glad you like it my Little Pea,” as this is what her mother called her. The little girl wore the necklace every day, all the time, for years.
Around the age of twelve, her mother became gravely ill and on the night of her 31st birthday, she passed away. The little girl seemed to cry nonstop for the next few days. On the day of her mother’s funeral, they put her body in a shiny oak coffin. The girl’s grandparents and uncles and cousins of whom she didn’t know the name of wept with her over her mother’s open casket. The little girl watched as two men closed the coffin’s lid and carried her mother away to be buried.
Her mother was buried under the great oak that stood adjacent to the church, slightly hidden by the church’s overflowing garden. They loved this place. Her mother often took her there for picnics. After the burial ceremony was over, the little girl climbed to the top of the oak tree, like she had many times before.
As the little girl settled on one of the trees branches, she gently removed the necklace from where it was placed around her neck. She took the necklace and intertwined the chain within a series of small branches to ensure it stayed put.
“I’ll always be with you Mama,” she said as she shed a few last tears before climbing down from the oak to greet the rest of the world.
After her mother’s death the little girl went to live with her grandparents. She grew up a very happy child and was very successful in all her school work. She went on to become a well known veterinarian due to her love of animals. At the age of 27, the girl got married and a few years after that she gave birth to two lovely children, a boy and a girl.
Even though the girl is now a woman and very busy with her life, she always takes time once a year, around her mother’s birthday and her and her family visit the little church that still contains the beautiful garden and the grand oak tree. They sit under the tree and have a family picnic filled with laughter and joy. One year when her children were about six, her daughter decided she would climb the tree.
“Be careful sweetie,” said the woman. After a few moments, the little girl leapt down from the tree with something in her hand.
“What have you got there sweetie?” the woman asked her daughter who was longingly looking at the shiny object in her hands.
“I found a necklace Mommy!” Her face gleaming with joy. “Look Mommy there’s even words on it!” The little girl who had not yet learned how to read looked at it, trying to sound out the words, her little face scrunched up in thought. She finally gave up. “What does it say Mommy?” asked the little girl handing the woman the aged necklace.
The woman teared up at the words engraved on the necklace. With a smile on her face, she looked to her daughter, “It says, for my Little Pea.”
“That’s a funny thing for it to say, Mommy.”
The woman just gave the little girl a smile.
“Can I keep in Mommy, pretty, pretty, please?” the little girl begged.
The woman looked at the necklace with a sad knowing smile. “Sure sweetie, you can keep it.”
The little girl squealed with joy and then ran off to play with her brother. The woman quietly laughed to herself as she watched her family play and laugh together. Off in the horizon, the sun was slowly setting, signaling that their trip was coming to an end. The woman looked up at the towering oak; a lone tear leaked from her eye and ran down her face to meet the corner of her smile. “Happy birthday mama.”
The woman then turned back to her family, the sadness evaporated and she enjoyed the rest of the day and the rest of her life.

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