Lessons in Birthday Tree House Building

Lessons in Birthday Tree House Building

A Story by Easter3

Don't judge a Tree by its Cover.


“Hey, Jonathan ! Come give your Aunt Cheyenne a Big Hug !” Cheyenne smiled widely at her tawny-headed, seven year old nephew, with her arms open wide.


Jonathan ran into his Aunt’s arms, and they Hugged one another tightly. Cheyenne swung him around through the air three times pressing his gangly skinniness close to her, as they both laughed out loud. “Wheeee !”


“Alright, Jon. Get ready for a crash landin’ !” Cheyenne stopped and gradually guided Jonathan’s lanky body safely to the ground. “Oops ! Sorry about that. You’ll have to settle for a soft landin’ today.”


Jonathan giggled. His bright blue eyes alive with mirth. “You always give me a soft landin’. I’m still waiting for my crash landin.”


Cheyenne ruffled his thick head of hair. “Well just wait til next time young man. Just you wait.”


“Cheyenne, will you and Jonathan please run up to the barn and feed the Horses, while the rest of us run the hay down to the back pasture for the Cows ? If we get those chores out of the way now, we’ll be able to relax with everyone before dinner.” Cheyenne’s Mama requested.


“Yes Ma’am. We’ll meet y’all back up at house in a little bit.” Cheyenne answered. “Come on, Jonathan. I’ll race you up to the barn. Last one there is a rotten egg, and a yella-bellied possum.”


Aunt and Nephew ran as fast as they could toward the large, faded red barn’s doors. Cheyenne allowed Jonathan to barely beat her.


Jonathan slammed his hands and arms into the heavy barn door shouting, “I win ! I win ! You’re the rotten egg and the yella-bellied possum. Not me !


Jonathan clamped his fingers over his nose, and pinched his nostrils closed. Pointing accusingly at his Aunt he laughed, “Ha ! Ha ! Pee-uw ! I can smell you from here.”


Cheyenne grabbed her nephew and swung him around in the air again. “Oh you can, can you’ ?” Putting him down once again on the ground Cheyenne opened the barn doors, and headed for the feed barrels and buckets.


As the Aunt and Nephew called the horses up to the large fenced in arena and holding pen by hollering, “Come on, Dare ! Prince ! Red ! Pygar !  Babe ! Diablo ! Dapper Dan ! Dapples ! D.J. ! Red ! Come on y’all. Come and get it,” while beating the sides of the feed buckets loudly with their cupped hands.


Soon, they could see a flurry of dust in the distance coming through the heavily forested area of the Family’s Pasturelands, and hear the thundering hooves of the well trained Horses racing toward the Barn.


“Alright now, Jon, stick close to me. We’ll wait for them to stop at the feeding troughs, and then we can go up and pet ’em while they’re eatin’.


“Yes Ma’am. I love watchin’ ’em run like that. Will we have time to ride the Horses today ?”


“Not today, but when you come back out next weekend, we’ll give Dare and Dapples a whirl,” Cheyenne promised.


“Yee-ha ! I can’t wait !” Jonathan jumped up and down in a tight circle in joyful anticipation.


“By the way, young man. We’re havin’ your birthday party here next weekend. You’ll be eight years old !”


“I know. I’m getting’ big aren’t I ?” Jonathan asked with a shy smile.


“Yes Sir. You sure are.” Cheyenne gave her Nephew a Big Hug and said,


“Now, I need to know what you’d really like for your birthday.”


“Oh, that’s easy. I wanna’ Tree House.”


“A Tree House ? Do you want it built out here, at the Ranch, so you can play in it any time you come out ?”


“Oh, that would great, Aunt Cheyenne ! What tree will you put it in ?”


“Remember that huge Ole’ Oak Tree close to the artesian spring at the back of the field ? The one that it takes three people to wrap their arms around ?”


“Oh, that would be the perfect tree ! But how would I get up into it ? It’s so Big ?”


“Well, I’ll hammer some wood planks into the trunk of the Tree to make a ladder, and hang a knotted rope from a hole in the floor of the Tree House for you to shinny up. You’ll have two ways to get into your Tree House.”


“Oh, I can’t wait to climb up into my new Birthday Tree House ! I can’t wait !”


“Let’s groom the horses real fast, and head back down to the house. The next time you come out here for your Birthday Party, you’ll be eight years old, and have your own Tree House to play in.”


Cheyenne was true to her word. Every day, after school, she sketched plans for the Tree House, gathered wood from a wood pile stacked up at the back of the barn, got all of her daddy’s building tools and nails together, threw everything into the back of the Family’s school bus yellow Ford pick-up truck named Iodine, and drove down into the back pasture to the great Ole’ Oak Tree to Build Jonathan‘s Birthday Tree House.


She put the finishing touches on it Saturday morning, and had it finished a couple of hours before everyone began to arrive for her Nephew Jonathan’s Birthday Party.


Jonathan, and his mom and dad, arrived at the Ranch early, to set everything up for the Party.


“Aunt Cheyenne ! Will you drive me down to my Tree House ? I can’t wait to see it ! I want to climb up into it before any of my friends do. I want to be the very First !”


“Sure, that sounds like a good idea to me, Jon. After all, you’re the Birthday Boy. You should be the First to climb up into your Tree House.” Cheyenne agreed. “Does anyone else want to come ?”


Cheyenne’s Mama said, “I’d love to see it with y’all before the festivities get started.”


Cheyenne’s Sister, Marie, said, “Y’all go on down to take a look at the Tree House. Bob and I will start settin’ up the streamers and gettin’ everything ready for the party.”


“We won’t be gone long, Marie.” Cheyenne said. “We’ll help y’all finish things up when we get back.”


“Sounds good to me. Come on Bob. Let’s get started. Will you bring the Cake on into the kitchen, please ?” Marie directed.


“Sure thing, Honey. Just show me where you want it.”


With that, Cheyenne, Jonathan and Mama Peggy hopped into the old yellow pick-up truck and toodled down the well worn dirt road to the back of the pasture. Cheyenne stopped the pick-up truck right under the giant Ole’ Oak Tree.


“Wow, look at how big my Birthday Tree House is ! I can’t wait to climb up into it ! But why’d you park so close to the Tree Aunt Cheyenne ?”


“To give you a boost up the knotted rope. You won’t have as far to climb, and we can hurry back to the house to help set up for your Party.”


Cheyenne lowered the tailgate of the truck, and all three crawled up into the back of the pick-up truck, and stood gazing admiringly up at Jonathan’s Birthday Tree House.


“There was a day when I wouldn’t have hesitated to climb up that rope, Cheyenne. But I’m not as young and pliable as I once was,” Mama Peggy admitted with a chuckle.


“Don’t worry, Mama. You and I are gonna’ climb up the ladder I made going up the trunk of the tree, and enter the Tree House that way. I’ll be right behind you. So, don’t worry.”


“Now, Jonathan, you grab hold of the rope. We’ll spot you as you shinny up it and into your Tree House. Then we’ll climb up the ladder and meet you inside.”


Jonathan grabbed the rope and crawled up it like a giant inch worm. When he pulled himself through the hole in the bottom of the Tree Houses’ floor, he stuck his head out, smiling widely, and said, “Y’all come on up. Everything looks so neat up here. Aunt Cheyenne, thank you for Buildin’ this for me. It’s the best Birthday Present ever !”


Mama Peggy and Cheyenne carefully managed their way up the sturdy ladder and climbed out onto the railed in porch that wrapped around the Tree House.


“You really put a lot of thought and work into this Tree House, Cheyenne. This is a wonderful Gift for Jonathan,” Mama Peggy announced. “Just look at this view.”


“I just love it, Aunt Cheyenne ! I can’t wait for my Friends to see it,” Jonathan added.


Then, grabbing hold of one the large branches, Jonathan began to energetically jerk up and down, making sounds like a little chimpanzee. “Ooo-Ooo-ah-ah ! Eee-Eee-ah-ah ! Look at me ! Look at me ! I’m a monkey in a Tree ! Ha ! Ha !


The whole Tree shook and rocked Mama Peggy and Cheyenne a little off of their sure footing.


“Jonathan, what in the world are you trying to do ? Shake this House right out of the Tree ?” Mama Peggy joked.


“Look how strong it is Grandma Peggy. Look how strong Aunt Cheyenne made it !


C-R-A-C-K ! Crrrrrr-Aaaaaa-Ckkkkkkkk !


“Good Lord ! What’s happening ?” Mama Peggy gasped.

Jonathan, had thankfully stopped jumping and jerking up and down, and was instead hanging on for dear life. In fact, all three Family Members were grabbing around for one another and anything else that didn’t move. The problem was that everything was moving, and moving fast. Including the floor beneath their feet. Everyone’s eyes and wide open mouths were as large as saucers, as the whole Tree House World tumbled, creaked and cracked all the way over onto its side.


Fortunately, the Three Family Members all landed in the back of the pick-up truck in the midst of the giant Ole’ Oak Tree’s extensive leafy branches and limbs, with a minimum of Tree and Tree House debris covering and surrounding various parts of their bruised, scraped and scratched bodies.


“Is everyone alright ?” Cheyenne asked as soon as she got her wits about her. Mama ? Jonathan ?”


“I’m fine, but why did my Tree House fall down ?”


“Jonathan, the Tree House didn’t fall down. The Whole stupid Tree fell down. Look at it. It was rotten in the center. It never occurred to me that the Tree was rotten from the inside out, because it looked so healthy from the outside. I had no idea !”


After an awkward silence, suddenly all three Family Members began to laugh.


“Mama, you should have seen your face. I’ve never seen you look so scared,” Cheyenne teased.


“Well for your information, young lady. I’m not the only who looked scared to death. And I have never seen you move your feet so fast when the floor started to give out from under all of us,” Mama Peggy countered good naturedly.


“But look at all of your hard work, Cheyenne. I am so sorry, Honey. But I must admit that I’m glad we made this discovery before anyone else got up into this Tree. And it was such a beautiful old Tree. The Arborist told your Daddy and I that this Tree was over one hundred years old. It had a lot more of the Earth’s history in it than I do. I’m going to miss this old Tree,” Mama Peggy said sadly.


“I’m so sorry that I jumped up and down so hard, Aunt Cheyenne. I ruined your Birthday Present to me,” Jonathan sniffled.


“Now, Jonathan, don’t you cry, Honey. You didn’t ruin a thing. Look at how lucky we are. None of us, aside from a few bruises and cuts, were hurt very badly. And the old pick-up truck didn’t get any real dents that I can see. Just a few scratches. But we only use this old truck for scut work around the Ranch, anyway,” Cheyenne countered enthusiastically.


“Let me get this old pick-up out from under this ole’ broken down Tree, and then y’all hop on in. We need to get back to the house and get cleaned up before everyone begins to get here for your Party. I don’t think that we’ll want anyone to see us like this,” Cheyenne laughed.


“My hair is strung out like Medusa’s, and is covered with little sticks and leaves, and so are all of y’all’s,” Cheyenne pointed. “Do y’all see any bird’s nests hidin’ in my hair ?”


“Nope, no bird’s nests,” Jonathan laughed aloud pickin’ a few leaves and broken twigs for his Aunt’s wildly strewn long hair.


“We are certainly a sight to behold. No one will recognize us when they see us back at the House,” Mama Peggy joined in the merriment.


“That was the weirdest feeling when the floor of the Tree House was falling apart under our feet, and the whole House began to break apart while the Tree was falling. It all happened so fast. By the time I really understood what was happening, it was over,” Cheyenne admitted.


“Hmm, sounds a lot like Life in general. By the Time you begin to figure out what really going on, and what’s really important, it’s over,” Mama Peggy mused.


Slowly, Cheyenne was able to get the truck out from under the heavy fallen Tree.


The large Ole’ Oak Tree had damaged a couple of other young Oak Trees, but not badly.


“I’m really gonna miss this beautiful Ole Oak Tree y‘all,“ Cheyenne said wistfully. “Oh well, at least we’ll have plenty of firewood this winter. And Jonathan, please don’t be downhearted, because I’m going to Build you another Tree House. And it’ll be even better than this one was. And I’ll take a core sample from the Tree to make sure that it’s good and solid before I ever hammer the first nail into it.”


“Really, Aunt Cheyenne ? You’ll make the time to do that for me ?”


“Yes Sir, I promise,” Cheyenne said as she crossed her Heart to seal the deal.


“I can’t wait ! But I think that I’ll let you climb up into it first,” Jonathan said with a mischievous half grin.


“You just wait. This next Tree House will be Built to withstand even the Big Bad Wolf huffin’ and puffin’ against it, and a hundred and one Chimpanzees swinging from it” Cheyenne teased.


“However, I must admit that I have learned a very valuable lesson with all of this Tree House business. Never Judge a Tree by its Green Leafed and Mighty Exterior, and Things are most definitely not always what they Seem,” Cheyenne remarked lightheartedly.

“You can say that again,” Mama Peggy chimed in.


“And by the way, Jonathan, Happy Birthday,” Cheyenne said cheerfully.


“I will never forget this Birthday, Aunt Cheyenne. Not ever !”








© 2013 Easter3

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Added on September 29, 2013
Last Updated on September 29, 2013
Tags: Tree houses, birthdays, horse maintenance, Familial relationships, oak trees, country life, birthday wishes



Liberty Hill, TX

Leah Sellers is a native Texan who has enjoyed four varied careers in her lifetime as a: Secondary Education teacher in the fields of English, History, Journalism and Special Education, an Activity di.. more..