Friday, March 28, 2014


Sight of our 2014 Kilgore Cousins Reunion, May 24, 2014

Fallen oak tree in 2009
As I was driving by my neighbor’s home here in Parkway Estates this morning (March 28, 2014 in the Birmingham, AL metro area),  I noticed in my neighbor’s backyard, a very large tree somewhat uprooted,  leaning for support against another tree.  That scene reminded me  of a time a few years back (I think in 2009)  when a huge oak tree fell down on the roof of Granny Kilgore’s  house.   The largest portion of the top of that “ over-a-hundred-year-old oak” was supported by the roof line of the house, while the lower portion lay sprawling out on the ground. The branches on top of the house were as large in circumference as most tree bases you see in the woods. 

 It wasn’t a happy scene to behold.  The tree provided an enormous amount of shade in the summer time.  It was stately in its appearance.  It added a special feel and  beauty to the property. All that was lost with the tree falling. The reason for the fallen tree was very evident when looking at the remainder of the trunk that remained standing in the ground.
Top of the oak covered the back of the house

It wasn’t a well tree. The tree trunk was hollow inside.  Also, there was a large carpenter ants’ nest  at the base of the tree resulting in an additional weakened state.  The ants had an ideal home,  unobserved, and eating away at the tree. When a strong wind came through, the oak broke off about 8 feet up from the base landing on back portion of Granny’s house.

The situation was traumatic at the time, not just because of house damage and  the tree’s demise, but because my father and I were at odds concerning what to do about it. Daddy wanted to know what I thought because he had set it up for me to own the house and its immediate property.  I knew the house meant a lot to all us cousins in the family and its loss would have been a sad time for the Kilgore family.  

Daddy’s initial response was to burn the tree down, and the house with it.  He saw that I wasn’t in favor of such a drastic response because of my love for the old place.  Daddy was very gracious.  He found someone to get the tree off the house for use as firewood.  It must have been a lot of firewood, too.  Then he found someone to repair the damage caused by the tree which was mainly repairing a section of the tin roof.  It could have been worse.  We were fortunate because the rafters supporting the tin were not affected. Daddy forked out the money needed for the tree removal and house repairs all by himself, and he did it willingly.  He never brought up to me again. Thankfully, the old farm house had been spared.

Remaining truck of the fallen oak tree (present day) 

the decaying trunk base of the fallen oak tree

Looking inside the top of the  decaying trunk base of the old oak
All that is history now. There are two remaining huge oak trees still standing beyond the fallen tree toward the old barn.  Those trees are still providing shade, and will  be the canopy for the Kilgore Cousins Reunion to be held on Saturday, May 24, 2014. One of those sprawling trees was hit by lightening last year, but it seems to be doing okay.  

The old house is looking older and older by the day.  It is amazing that we still have the structure with us.  I plan to open up the house for the reunion.  It has been sometime now since the house has been opened for the relatives to work through.  There is very little inside the house, but it still holds the memories of the lives that lived within those wall.  

I do hope that all our extended relatives will taken advantage of this opportunity to return to the place of our roots under the canopy of the old oak trees.  Very few people can do this these days, and we can!  See you there!

Johnny Kilgore
Kilgore Cousins Reunion Coordinator

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