Saturday, October 10, 2009

... Sittin' In A Tree

So yesterday you learned how Dad was king when it came to fixing cars, he's also an ace at building decks, putting in windows, adding an extension, you name it. He did most of the work on my parents' house himself. One spring he built us a tree house. Looking back at photos today, it was really quite ordinary, but at age 9 it was truly the coolest thing ever.

Most New Jersey folks love the outdoors. Seriously, they love nature! They hike, pick apples in the fall and berries in the summer. They go camping and canoeing and tubing down the Delaware. They ride bikes and spend the day at the park. Not me, I am more of an indoor person, but growing up, I loved being outside.

I loved the feeling of the grass between my bare toes. I caught Fireflies and Lady Bugs in jars with holes poked in the top. In the winter, I really enjoyed sleigh riding down the hill by the parkway. I made the most awesome snow forts with my friend Dawn. We would light candles in the snow fort windows when the sun went down and pretended we were roommates living in our own place somewhere in New England. In the fall, I would use leaves and sticks and piece together the coolest little huts for my Smurfs and Clownaround figures.

Funny as an adult, I don't enjoy being outside at all. It's either too hot, too cold or too windy. I'm not into hiking or boating, etc. I can't imagine climbing a bush, let alone a tree but when I was in 4th grade, I loved climbing trees. One tree in particular was the one in our yard. It was a huge crab apple tree that flourished into the prettiest blossoms in the spring.

After a recent visit to Disney, my brother and I fell in love with the idea of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. We wanted one of our own! We wanted our own private place to hide out. My dad got on it and in one day he basically constructed a deck within the tree branches, which we called our tree house. The tree house was the only one on the block. All of the kids in our neighborhood were pretty impressed by it as were we!

After school, I would head up to the tree house with my homework or Judy Bloom books and enjoy the privacy that our little hideaway provided. Sprawled out atop the smooth wooden planks, I wrote letters and short stories while little petals from the tree's blossoms fell onto my hair. The warm breeze would whip through the branches as the sun would go down. It was like natures alarm clock sending me back into the house. I'd scale the tree carefully as not to fall and look forward to tomorrow so I could do it all over again.

Today all we need is a van, $400 and quick trip to Toys R Us and we can purchase an easy-to-assemble play house. But it's just not the same. There's something about the old school, unprofessional play house made with Dad's tools.


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