I grew up in a magical place. I had trees that became the walls of the Secret Garden, I alone could sneak away to the tunnel of branches that led into another world of my choosing. This one particular tree hosted many parties and gardens through the years. I suppose it probably holds at least half a dozen small coffee cans filled with buried treasures. I became a blood sister to my two girlhood friends, we used catchup of course. What well respecting girls wouldn't? We had many clubs that usually started with rules, like no boys allowed, you can only wear pink, purple or blue, you had to ride a horse to get there, and usually we were supposed to wear bonnets and long dresses to the ceremonies. There were other trees, one that had its own built in slide of branches, we used it to play many games of hide and seek, The Dukes of Hazard, and jungle games. There was a Tepee, a real live Indian Tepee, we help important meetings in there, usually around a burning fire of construction paper and wet leaves. My pony, Mindy was tied to the hitching rail right outside the door, for escape purposes of course.. And then there was the big fields to the West and East of our property. These fields were home to a few underground forts, a large barreled bucking bull, tin cans to run barrels and big washes that held treasures beneath their sands. Some of my adventures were small but most of them were grand! I won't get to far ahead of myself and skip the details. The details are what made this place the most magical childhood anyone would ever want. It gave many other children a childhood they might not have ever known otherwise.
My old trees grew smaller over the years, but the stories grow sweeter. And sweeter still is how each memory holds pieces of the people I love today. My husband plays many roles in this story; the older boy with the blue eyes and curly hair, my childhood crush, the antagonist, the bully, the clown and finally the object of my love. My parents and my brothers, many of my lifelong best friends. My love for the outdoors and animals grew here and made in place in me that can only be quieted when I'm around it.
I write this for my children, each night they ask us for a story about when we were little. And when I look into their faces all I can see is the delight when I talk about Gambler the Goose, Bucky J, Mindy, Jet and so many other hilarious barnyard friends that I can't wait to finally have these magical moments ready for us to read together! Without further ramblings, I present to you: