Growing up, I was not allowed to watch much TV. My parents, and Grandma Betty for that matter, made us spend our days doing other things. Summer was a time that you were always expected to stay busy, and stay busy outside. Heck, there wasn’t even a TV in my grandma’s cottage until I was a teenager. Because of this, Gregory, Emmy, and I had to find other ways to keep ourselves busy… building forts just happened to take up a lot of that time.
You would think that after years and years of making them, we would have become fort making experts. However, this was not the case. Year after year, and fort after fort, we used the tee-pee layout, expecting different results each time (which of course didn’t come). The tee-pee layout, as most you know, is stacking all of the stick vertically along one horizontal branch on both sides. This layout didn’t offer much protection from the elements or take very long to build once we had all of the sticks (we usually made 3-4 forts per fort outing).
The longest part of making the forts was finding suitable branches that were long enough to reach from the ground to the horizontal stick. It was not uncommon to find us crawling around, on hands and knees, checking thousands of different sticks. Lucky for us, the huge forest around Grandma Betty’s cottage had lots to offer.
The only rule was that we had to say in yelling volume of Grandma Betty (man did she have a booming voice when she needed too) Depending on our age, Grandma Betty would call into the forest every half an hour to hour to make sure we were still alive. All three of us would have to call back or we would all be in trouble. Not one time do I remember missing that check-in. Grandma Betty, as loving as she was, was not someone you wanted to be in trouble with.
After we were finished with a fort, and when she was still able to do it, Grandma Betty would come “inspect” our forts. We would either get a passing or failing grade on how well we had done. If we received a “failing” grade we would work our butts off to get it up to standards. Boy, did Grandma Betty know how to keep us out of her hair by telling us we “needed to have a stronger fort.”
At least now a-days, thanks to Grandma Betty, I can build one damn good fort 🙂