The trunk of the tree was really wide. I remember the roots were so long, and spread out beneath the tree far into the yard, because I had memorized where not to run when playing on the grass. Too many trips and falls from knobs of wood protruding out of the ground made for quick lessons.
The trunk divided into two smaller trunks, almost making a perfect Y. It was in this Y I envisioned a tree house. In my minds eye, I had the perfect yellow curtains for the small glass paned windows that I wanted there. A Dutch door was to be the entryway, and I just knew there would be enough room for my small play kitchen to be hoisted up, and placed in it, enabling me to create wonderful meals. I knew that my big sisters Girl Scout camping set would be perfect to use in the house. Durable outdoor pots and pans. My good stuff would have to stay indoors.
I wanted a bucket to bring things up and down in, and really hoped we had enough extension cords to extend from the house, across the patio, through the minefield of roots, and grass, and up into the house. A lamp would make it so cozy, and maybe, I could even sleep in it. My own little house.
My Dad listened to my dream, and when the words, "I'll build you a tree house" came off of his lips, I nearly passed out. I recall a few books he took out of the library with plans in them. One of the books featured an A frame style house. In a tree! I couldn't believe my eyes! This was going to be amazing. Some nights, I could hardly sleep thinking about my house.
When construction began, I helped by passing nails, and quickly learned the difference between a Flathead and a Phillips head. My Dad made some sort of base. A platform of sorts. He worked really hard on it, and then he made a ladder, to get to it. I remember him cleaning up, and putting everything away, and asking me if I liked it. I also remember thinking, where were my walls, and roof, and dutch door, and double hung windows?
I climbed the ladder, and shimmied myself up onto the platform. The weeping willow branches and leaves were so long, that they dragged on the ground, and you had to part them like a curtain to get through them. I remember hearing the breeze blowing through the long weepy branches, and thought how amazing my roof was. I had a secret little hideaway, tucked into the crux of a magnificent, strong tree.
My mom came out and handed me my teddy bear picnic plastic basket, complete with a bear thermos with milk in it, and a sandwich, tucked into a red and white gingham napkin. I sat under the shade of my tree and marveled at my new tree house.
It wasn't quite what I had envisioned.
It was better.