Pulling my way up the rusty log chain for the very last time, it was surprising anything remained of the old treehouse. As I sat listening to birds 1)chirp, my mind drifted back to the day it all started, my eleventh birthday. I never imagined a birthday gift would become one of the “2)Seven Wonders of the World.”
The monumental day arrived when I advanced to the 3)ripe old age of eleven. Birthdays were always special around the farm as the family would 4)conjure up some exciting surprise. And this excitement arrived when I heard my oldest brother say, “The tree next to the 5)raspberry patch has some really big limbs. 6)Wanna build a treehouse up there?” My eyes glinted with the thought of a treehouse from which to 7)wage war on the 8)hapless ground dwellers trapped far below.
Ready to start the construction, we both set out to survey the future project site. Prior to my eleventh birthday, the old 9)elm was merely a 10)stocky looking tree that stood alongside the raspberry patch. But now, the elm tree would become something spectacular. Walking towards the raspberry patch, I chattered away about features we could add to the treehouse. As we rounded the corner by a clump of 11)aromatic 12)horseradish plants, I looked up in the tree and nearly 13)dropped my jaw. Nestled up in the branches I could see the framework of a treehouse. Not only had my brother already nailed some boards in place for a frame, but he’d found a sheet of 14)plywood and fitted it in place as a floor. A log chain hung downward from the platform, 15)jangling in the breeze, providing a most appropriate means by which to climb up into the treehouse.
Unable to contain myself, I raced towards the log chain, preparing to 16)grapple my way up the tree. Monkeying upward with the precision only a child can manage, I looked about in awe. Brother followed a few seconds later with a big grin on his face. Standing upon the floor, I was already imagining walls containing 17)gun ports to peek out from. The view was fantastic! Even though it was no more than 15 feet up in the air, it felt more like 100 feet. For the first few minutes, brother and I discussed the next steps involved. The rest of the afternoon was spent 18)scrounging up old wood, metal 19)sides 20)cannibalized from washing machine 21)housings, and anything else that looked as if it could serve a useful purpose. By the end of the day, the first floor was complete. We even managed to add a roof which doubled as a second floor to 22)hide out on. A washing machine lid with the clothes door 23)hatch served as a 24)trap door to crawl up onto the roof through. It was a kid’s perfect dream!
In the days that followed, my cousins visited on weekends and we would wage wars amongst ourselves. Sometimes, I spent time alone daydreaming high above as many an afternoon of lounging about in the treehouse occupied my summer vacation time. With 25)blistering hot summer days, the breeze from the leaves of the tree always felt cool and refreshing. I’d sit with my legs dangling out over one edge, watching anything that moved down below. Chickens would wander by, scratching and pecking in the dirt, blissfully unaware that they were being watched like a hawk from unseen eyes hiding high above. Rabbits hopped along and never knew a 26)BB gun was so close at hand.
As time passed, everything continued to change in some manner. Just like my bones were growing, so were the limbs on the tree. As clothes were outgrown, support 27)braces in the tree were pulled apart by nature’s very own leafy 28)contortionist. A few times my brother and I carried out quick repairs to keep the treehouse from being condemned as uninhabitable. But as with many things in youth, our interest waned. Eventually, I grew up and moved out on my own. On occasion, I would return to visit the farm and climb up into treehouse to look around. Each time, the treehouse fell further and further into a state of disrepair. Finally, it reached the point where the only remaining sign of its presence was the rusty log chain. But I’m willing to bet the log chain is still there today. Maybe someday I’ll take a trip back to the farm before my hair totally falls out and see if the chain still stands—a 29)testament to what was once one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.”