I put these quirky little goals on my bucket list. A couple of years ago, I was in the chair at the dentist’s office waiting for the hygienist to come to the room. Across from the chair was a large picture of the biggest live oak tree I have ever seen. Initially, I thought the picture was a photograph, but as I looked closer, I noticed that some of the lines were a little too symmetrical.
“Is that a photograph or a painting?” I asked when the hygienist entered the room.
“It’s a painting,” she answered, “but it is a real tree”.
At that moment the desire to visit the Angel Oak was planted in my mind. Last week, a friend of mine posted a picture of her visit to the Angel Oak on Facebook, and I remembered that a trip to the tree was on my bucket list. I was off of work on Friday so on Thursday night around 10, I called another friend to see if she wanted to go to the tree with me some time over the weekend. I was actually thinking Saturday, partly because I was calling so late, but she wanted to go on Friday. I agreed. The next morning, I was on the phone with my mother and mentioned that I was heading out of town to see the tree. She was keeping my nephew for the day and expressed a very strong interest in riding, as well.
“Can you be ready in fifteen minutes?” I asked as I was already on my way to pick up my friend. Excited, she said yes. I sent my friend a text, told her we had just picked up two more passengers and I that hoped that was ok. The more the merrier! She responded.
The Angel Oak is located in Charleston County, SC on John’s Island. Initially, when I thought of visiting and blogging about it, I had a more glamorous trip in mind. Visit the glorious tree and then maybe go out to some quaint, idyllic Charleston restaurant afterwards for seafood. I figured that I could talk about the tree, the restaurant and the meal. What I got was a little different, but it ended up being a very special, spontaneous day and I wouldn’t trade it. It was one of those trips where everyone got on well. Everyone contributed to the conversation and enjoyed one another’s company. It was a day when we made a memory.
As my nephew, James, is only seven and the ride is over three hours long, we stopped on the way down there for lunch. We let James pick the restaurant and he picked Taco Bell.We arrived at the tree at 4pm, one hour before it closed. Signs around the tree offered all of the standard facts one would expect. The Angel Oak is at least 400 years old, stands 66.5 feet tall, is 28 feet in circumference and provides 17,000 feet of shade. Its longest branch is 187 feet.
There are explicit instructions for how one should treat the tree. You are not allowed to sit on the tree or climb the tree, but you can hug the tree. Obviously, you cannot deface the tree. In a message from the tree, we were reminded that cameras were watching us. James immediately set about the task of finding each of the cameras. As he found them, he pointed them out one by one. In typical 7-year-old form, he also found several ways to enjoy the tree without breaking the rules. He did the limbo under one limb. He did hurdles over some of the other limbs that either hung low or sat on the ground. He ran around the outer perimeter of the tree as we watched and commented on how he was an extremely fast runner. We all walked around the tree with our cell phones and took pictures at different angles and we all had to have our pictures taken hugging the tree.
When it was time to leave, we lamented that we didn’t have more time to explore Charleston, but then we simply decided to go back at another time and spend the night. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel on the way home and I ordered the catfish country platter with turnip greens and coleslaw. After all, I did say I was going to eat seafood. James and I played checkers while we waited for our meals.
As we ate dinner, I chuckled and asked, “Well, was it worth it? We drove all this way to see a tree and eat at Cracker Barrel”. We all agreed that it had been a pretty good day. Sometimes it really is the simple things.