That mighty oak had a modest beginning

The Examiner

Just a short while ago, my neighbor Julie mentioned about her acorn experience at the elementary school.

Julie was a volunteer at our kids’ school.

Diane Mack

May I say that Julie has more talent in her little pinky than I do in my whole body, or lifetime.

Anyway, Julie thought it would be cute to have bags of acorns on the school bulletin board. Each bag would represent a class room, with one acorn for each student in the class.

Julie meticulously counted out all of the acorns, putting them in Ziploc bags. Each bag represented one of the 20 classes.

However, Julie did not realize what would occur when the plastic bags filled with acorns became warm. Shortly after the school heater kicked on, Julie received a call to come and take the bagged acorns down. The sweet little acorns had sprouted worms, and they were everywhere.

What a laugh I had.

Prior to Julie’s story, I liked acorns. To me an acorn is a sign of fall, the mighty oak, gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, and apple cider.

From Wikipedia, we read, “The acorn, or oak nut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives.”

“It usually contains a single seed, enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule.”

“Acorns take between about 6 and 24 months to mature.”

I believe nutty is the operative word here and relatives and mine or mixed.

For the past two weeks, I have heard the strangest sounds all night long. At first I thought the sound came from inside the house. I was worried I had a mouse, or perhaps the raccoons had returned, but no mouse and no raccoon.

However, the plunk-plunk, pop-pop and tap-tap-tap, all night long, were making me crazy.

I love warm November weather, football, tailgate parties, light jackets and sweet potatoes. However, these bothersome sounds of plunk, pop and tap were disturbing my precious sleep time.

One night I had had it. I was going to catch the little critters.

Quietly, cautiously, I turned the knob on the patio door. The wind presented itself the second I opened the door. I looked outside and saw nothing and heard nothing but the rustle of leaves.

I returned to my bed, and sleep, and ... the tap, tap, tap started again. What could be so annoying?

May I conclude with a poem?

It was the mighty oak and squirrels, who kept me up at night.

From plunk to pop, to tap, tap, tap, I looked such a fright.

No sleep, no quiet, no forty winks, no six hour slumber time.

I’d lay awake. I’d toss and turn. I’d fret, no peace of mind.

How could a species, quite so small, as a squirrel, wake my sleep?

I simply want a night of rest, a chance to count some sheep.

But the business of my squirrely friends, my backyard rodents adored

Need timers for their collection hours, and daytime hours, to hoard.

I’ll send a text to Mother Nature, with a message for the oak.

If this continues, the plunk-pop-tap, I am going to croak.

Please keep the acorns in the trees, until the snow has come.

Then, they will fall upon the snow and the noise will succumb.

After that, my beloved backyard friends, can glide across the snow.

And I can sleep, right through the dark, until the rooster crows.

Please bless me with a night of rest, a break, please, acorn band,

Dear Mother Nature, with hundreds of young, I know you’ll understand.            

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at