My neighbors are extremely nice people. They look out for me, pick up my mail and paper when I am out of town, and if they don’t see me for a few days, I get an “are you ok?” email. They have nine children. The four oldest are over 19 years of age. The middle children are 10 year-old identical twin boys. Their home is literally four stories, and it is located on the north end of a triple sized lot. There is a huge oak tree with a tire swing and a well equipped play structure. There are full-sized soccer goals that are out during soccer season, and during baseball season, the boys’ practice pitching and batting with their dad and older brothers. Their yard gives the kids plenty of room to play.
They are good kids, polite, friendly, and personable. They are also very, very imaginative. Sometimes their play spills over into my yard. I have come home to find kids high in my dogwood trees, both front and back. And now there is a new development.
For the past few weeks, I have heard the sounds of busy children outside, very close to my study/guest room. This room has a glass door that leads out to my deck. One afternoon, I saw boys at window level jumping up and down on a picnic table they had drug across their yard and parked on the property line. Another afternoon, I heard the crackle and scraping of branches drug across the yard. For days, when I walked the puppy, I could see a lot of activity through a pathway to the next street behind me, so I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that some play-project was in the works.
I was not quite prepared for what I found this morning when I went out on the deck and saw the most amazing sight. These busy boys had built a fort in the corner of my backyard! There are branches woven in the Aucuba shrubs for a roof, a scrap 1×4 serves as a wooden door threshold, and little chairs are arranged inside the protection of this covering. Robinson Crusoe couldn’t have done better himself. The only thing that is missing is the “No Girls Allowed” sign, and that might be on the back side.
I hate to tell the boys that their hard-built fort is in my yard. I’m going to wait a while. Come spring, they will have to dismantle it, because that is my garden area, and that corner is only section I didn’t get cleared last year. Meanwhile, I think I might go sit in their fort and read one morning when they are in school.