When I was a little girl, we had two great big willow trees in the front yard and pine trees up close to the house. These were great trees for climbing. I loved to climb trees; I loved the feel of the wind swaying the branches, and looking down at the whole world below me.
I could climb just about any tree, and I would any chance I got. The willow tree was easy, ’cause there was one big long low branch that I just pulled down on and straddled like I was riding a horse. Lots of times Bonita and I used that branch for a horse, when we played Broken Arrow or Lone Ranger. Other time, we put Julie and Frankie up on the branch and sang Rock-a-bye Baby to them, bending the branch way down tight to the ground then launching them high in the air, when we got to the part that said, “and down will fall baby, cradle and all.” That was super fun. Sometimes we pulled thin branches down and used them for whips on our pretend horses or each other. That stung a little, but we thought it was a good way to get toughened up like a real cowboy, ’cause sometimes cowboys on TV got whipped with a bull-whip.
Most of the time I stayed away from the pine trees, ’cause the first branch was way up high, so I couldn’t get a leg up, but one time I decided to run away from home, without running away at all. I climbed out a window and hung out on the roof. It was a super keen idea I had, to run away that way, ’cause I could hear Mom and Deanna looking all over for me, calling and calling, inside and outside, never finding me. I could even see Bonita running all around the house howling out her special wolf-howl, “ohw- ohw- ohw. oooowwwwhhh!” that she used, ’cause she couldn’t whistle. Our neighbor across the road, Nancy could whistle super loud through her fingers; she tried to teach me, but I never could learn to do that. I only whistled songs, and ‘whit-whew’ which meant, ‘what a looker.’ After a while I got tired of running away, and I could smell supper cooking, and I got a tinsy bit cold and bored sitting up there on the roof, so I stepped out on a branch of the pine tree and climbed down, dangling at the bottom limb before I got brave enough to drop to the ground. My hands got all black-sappy and I smelled like Balnetar. I just waltzed in the back-door all innocent.
“Where have you been?” Mom said. “We’ve been looking all over for you.”
“Really? Did you call me? I was right outside.” I said. I turned my lips in over my teeth to keep from smiling and looked at the linoleum, ’cause I knew even my eyes would give me away if I didn’t.
That was the best way of running away from home. I got to run away and hear everybody looking for me. I told you I was a pretty smart little girl.
I still like to climb trees. There’s just something about being way up high, feeling the wind sway the branches that’s peaceful and exciting at the same time. A few years ago, I climbed the tree at my mother-in-laws condo. I skinned the cat on one of the low branches, just to prove I could still do it. G-Money’s mom said it was against the rules; she got her copy of the by-laws out to prove it to me.
There are way to many rules in this world. I still can’t keep track of them all.