Families grow up under the shelter of their parents. So did Uncle Hewett. Additionally, Hewett grew up under the shade of live oaks. Now these magnificent oaks circle the gravel road around his parents’ home in Emmottville.
Every year the surface of the road beneath the trees was blanketed with oak leaves and acorns. Hewett’s dad, my grandfather, in the Fall habitually raked the leaves and acorns in small piles. He set each pile on fire. Then he leaned against his car. As he watched each pile burn, he smoked a non-filtered Camel cigarette. His father might have lived a much longer life if he had not smoked. He died early at the age of 92.
Uncle Hewett returned to his parents’ home from WWII. Rather than burning oak leaves like his father or leaving them to be carried away by the squirrels, Hewett had other plans for the acorns. He used them to build acorn men. He named them “Hewett’s Creations.” These Creations exhibited the talents within Hewett. Those talents were as unique and as special as the hundreds of fly boys Hewett trained at Foster Air Force Base in Victoria, Texas.
With care Hewett handpicked the perfect acorns for each acorn man he created. The acorn men were not just individually unique. They each had a special place in a group activity with other acorn creatures. God created you and me as His special and unique children too. God calls you and me to do something in groups too. Attend church. Share and live the Good News. To love and care for one another.
As a young boy, I often stood by Hewett’s dresser. I perched on my toes to get the best view of the latest acorn men he had made. I was mystified by them. I imagined the acorn men coming to life. To play. To dance. To make music together.
These acorn men are family treasures. Hewett’s cousin, Catharine Mary Waldman, was given a set by Hewett. The acorn men are seated around a card table. They are playing a game of poker. Each man is holding a hand of Bicycle cards. Hewett had perfectly trimmed each card to fit in each hand. This set of acorn men is one of Catharine’s most treasured possessions.
Uncle Hewett never gave me a set of his acorn men. I thought that I would never have one of them much less a set of them. When Hewett died, I was asked to probate his Will. The executor asked me what my legal fee would be. I replied, “That is easy. Let me have just one set of Hewett’s remaining creations.” That was payment in full for services.
Pictured with this post is the set of acorn men holding musical instruments in their hands. Those little acorn men represent a big memory for me. Every time I look at them, I smile. I see Hewett soaking the hand-picked acorns in turpentine. This rid them of the bugs which caused his earliest creations to fall apart and disintegrate.
I see Hewett use his fine motor skills to bend each paperclip to assemble an acorn man. Each completed acorn man appeared as a fully formed human-like creature. I envision Hewett gently placing an acorn cap on each man. The paperclips became musical instruments which acorn men played.
At Hewett’s memorial service my brother Charles mentioned his acorn men. Charles remarked that Hewett made them in such a magical way that they resembled “Christmas tree ornaments which fell from the live oak trees.”
Hewett died years ago. The home on the five acres his parents gave him as a wedding present has been razed. His nursery no longer exists. Yet, after I say my bedtime prayers and turn out the lights, I believe in Heaven Hewett hears the band of acorn musicians he created playing. They play for him “When the saints go marching in.” In my heart these little things Hewett created dance in unison with the beat of my heart.
God has spoken in Scripture about how the little things we do magnify the love of God on Earth.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
Let us pray.
Dear God, Mother Teresa said that we all can do small things with great love. Help me remember that although I may not do great things on Earth, the little things I do can become great things in Your Kingdom.
God, I thank You for magnifying the works I do in Your name. To You goes all the Glory. I am the creature of Your love. You created Your Son for me and all Your children. May that sacrifice for my salvation be magnified and glorified in all I am and all I do in Your name. Amen