OAK MAGAZINE

The Radish Rag

Updated: Feb 15


Vol. 1

I speak for the trees.


Welcome to the Radish Rag, where bitter is better and my name is Kristina Vetter.


My grandmother always said, "Kristina (pronounced with a crispness at the front, a sharp “t,” ending in a long 'awhhh') if you were paid to talk, you'd make millions." Well, here I am, trying to prove her right. How did we get here?


Aside from being disappointed at my lack of rebellion and millions—more so about the millions—, she also said something a bit more useful: "We are really good at complaining."


For context, the "we" refers to our family and its extension into German culture reflecting a certain penchant for pointing out less than ideal circumstances that the offending party should have been well-equipped to avoid. There is a better way of doing this and the inconvenience or display of clumsiness is mildly irritating. Simply put:


"You're doing it wrong."


Call it a constant need to improve, a product of precision learning, "efficiency," or whatever cheap joke of a WW2 reference you have rolling around in that unique noggin of yours, it's certainly a defining trait.


We don't "like" things in the same way others do. We complain about them whether we like them or not. It is a burden to be critical, truly. Nothing is sacred or safe from complaint, for it must be harmonious! That's my motto. It's not very good.


Fellow radishes, I think the most endearing thing about being alive is that you are, in fact, alive. Living and breathing in all the world has to offer. All the good, the bad, the platitudes. It's all here for you to endure. Blessedly we are granted these long years among one other, to learn from each new person why you should call your therapist.


Let me paint a picture:


I'm walking my adorable (not up for debate) dog at Forsyth Park. You know the one with the fountain and the weddings? The tripping hula hoopers and overflowing trash cans after the first nice day after the hottest summer in history, every year? The statues that probably don't need to be there anymore? You know! That one?


Anyway, I'm walking Lily, listening to a podcast, pondering the universe in its infinite abilities to derail my day. I look to one of the magnificent oak trees that line Forsyth. Massive, generations-old giants draping the park in a Spanish Moss drip. Suddenly, my frustration accumulates, noticing an entire family climbing into one of them. Visitors love these trees, but I dare say, they're doing it wrong. What is love if not respect? And an entire family piled on to a single, outstretched, now creaking and dangerously mobile branch to get a silly picture is a terrible way to show your love or aforementioned respect.


Next time you're around someone you love, I want you to pile your whole family on that person's outstretched arm. Why not? Start with weights to prep for the event.


But, Kristina! It's a tree. Haven't you ever climbed a tree before?


Sure. I was 12 the last time I did it, but let's take the maturity out of it. You're not wrong. Trees are extremely fun to climb. But isn't the marker of maturity a bit of misery? Not doing the immediate thing that comes into your head, even if it looks fun? And maybe, just maybe, your fun of climbing into a tree for "an important family moment" isn't, perhaps, the same as the fun of preserving that tree for generations to come?


It's like jumping on your mattress. You can do that. Your mom isn't around to tell you not to. But you mess it up, literally, for yourself and now your back hurts and you're confused. Sad.


That's the rub isn't it though? The real radish of it, in the case for the trees. You won't be around to notice. You'll go back to wherever you're from and likely remember that you were miserable every time you took out your phone to document the trip. No one cares about the new fireplace photo, Brenda.


Oh, and the tree is also...how to put this? It's not yours.


I suppose it's not ours either, the local's. I don't own a tree. If I did, his name would be Boris. Herr Boris Baumkuchen. Baumkuchen I do recommend, though make sure it's between 3 and 4pm.


Boris by any other name, however, is still under our stewardship. I would rather see them last. Maybe even devoid of human beings hanging off of them at 8am, yelling, if possible. Just spitballing. Get back to me. No worries if not.


Even so, have some respect for your elders. By all means, come off the branch before you hurt yourself. And don't get us wrong, we are happy for you to spend your money! Green is certainly our favorite color here in the ol' SAV, but we aren't a playground for you to forget your manners. No one wants to hear sirens that early. And if this at all sounds petty: Con. Grat. You. Lay-shuns, friend. My point is your prize! And if you’ve missed it, take a breath and retrace those steps.


But don't worry, a gentle reminder of these things is never a hindrance for this radish. I take my job seriously.


Tune in next, next week for more things I don't like, want to complain about, and can do so because my editor thinks I'm funny. I think? In any case, don't blame me. Blame the powers that be!


Till next time! And remember, bitter is better.


-Kristina Ilse Vetter

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