May 7, 2018
I grew up in a small town 100 miles west of Chicago. I am the youngest child of a rather large family, with four older brothers and one sister.
Our father was a very strict disciplinarian, so my siblings and I did our best to avoid any trouble with him. One way to do that was to stay out of sight as much as possible. We were dirt poor, but were fortunate in that my mom had inherited an old house situated on about three acres. There was a long driveway and there were several mature trees on the property.
An old apple tree became our favorite--not one of those dwarf trees one sees these days, but a full-sized, mature apple tree. It was an ideal place to hide if need be, and at the same time one could look over toward the house and watch the comings and goings of other family members.
The tree was also situated close to a back road leading from our town, so frequently one could get a bird's eye view of neighbors driving by. I remember often sitting there on a large upper branch in the late sumer and early fall, picking an apple (or two or three) for my afternoon snack, whiling away the hours.
Once in a while, my siblings would join me and we'd play a game of apple tree tag. The person who was "it" would climb a circuit around the tree as fast she could go, chasing someone else to tag. By some miracle no one fell while scurrying around in that tree.
Those days created fond memories for me. It was a safe place, and a happy place to be!