Introducing Green Oak
What you are about to read – these little stories of odd behavior presented with words carefully selected and removed to make room for other, hopefully better words – are not to be taken to the real world.
The real world has shades of gray and colors so bright they hurt your eyes to look at them too closely and darks so deep they conjure up the monsters you never thought you’d need to see once since you left your childhood behind. The real world has things like physics and logic and reason. The real world has terrors and terrible people.
The following stories are south of physics and of logic, east of reason, north of terrors and terrible people and can truly only be found at the edge of the west of imagination.
These are tall tales. They are not to be taken out into the garish light of real life. They would not hold up. They would wither and flake away and dissolve like the ash of a cigarette. They would sound as realistic as the dream you had where you walked into your house – well, not your house, but the house you dream of when you dream of your house – and found the goat knitting a lace doily (yes, I know a lace doily is not made by “knitting” but is made by “tatting” but this was a dream and somehow the goat was doing a wonderful job of it) while you had that very important thing to sell to your uncle’s third landlord that you never met but you heard about in stories.
These stories are written down and offered to you as a gift to bring a well-deserved break from the reality of your life. The life you live, where rules like gravity and paying taxes and not talking to strangers exist. These stories are not meant to be taken seriously. They are meant to be taken in and released like a breath of fresh air at the start of a vacation.
They are meant to bring you an idea of light-hearted hope.
They are meant to bring you to the edge of a long lost dream you once harbored before leaving it behind for a realistic, reasonable, logical life of paying taxes, obeying gravity and never asking the person sitting next to you on the train if they had a good day.
Leave all that and join your imagination…somewhere far too west of your own borders.
And relax. It’s all in good fun.
And it's all in Green Oak...
If you take the train as far as it can go on the steel rails planted by hard-working people some time ago as they sought a better life, you'll need to find the stage coach willing to make the journey out beyond the wide open spaces that stretch as far as the mountains. There is a waterway - little more than a creek, if the locals were honest about it - that sometimes gets presumptuous and swells with the rainfall before getting lazy and allows itself to thin out to a trickle. When you follow that water's lazy trickle, you might find yourself gazing over a small town called Green Oak.
You can see it if you close your eyes a bit and focus on the main street...there's the blacksmith, of course, across from the stable and the small hotel that is always happy to provide a room for the weary traveler. Along the way, you'll find the tailor and the general store, just around the corner from the bank. Over off that direction there, you'll find the undertaker and the post office and a lovely little bakery. Beyond the sheriff's office, you can see the butcher and a quiet restaurant. Of course, if you're interested in that other sort of dining in, the saloon and the associated parlor can be found beyond the boarding house there. Don't worry, of course, there is a church - it's just a little way down that road a stretch. The churchyard has the iron fencing everyone agreed was needed but for some reason, most people felt no need to live too close to that spot of land. The schoolhouse is just near enough to encourage all sorts of behavior, of course, so it probably is for the best the schoolteacher's cottage is close by.
No one truly knows why they called it Green Oak. Some say it was because half the town wanted to call it Green Park and the other half wanted to call it Little Oak and "Little Green" sounded so sad. Others say it was named Greek Oak because of the first family that lived there transplanted a young green oak sapling when they settled. What I know is Green Oak was the most peaceful garden of a town this far west. And the inhabitants were truly some of the most amazing folks ever known.
You can see for yourself. After all, what follows this brief introduction are simple stories that detail some of the most well-known townsfolk in Green Oak...