I’m not sure how old I was, probably 10 or 11. We lived on a hill overlooking a golfcourse with an irrigation ditch, the Platt River and a large wooded area between us and the fairway. It was in the wooded area that this story takes place.
The trees down by the river was a popular place for exploring and a group of older kids had built a treehouse in one of the more substantial trees. It was high. I was looking for a new fort location (a common activity on any given weekend) with my sister and next door neighbor (possibly one or two of the neighborhood kids as well, I can’t remember exactly) when we spotted the ladder to this haven of coolness. I don’t really know who’s idea it was to climb this rickety ladder, but up I went along with our next door neighbor (who I think must have been all of five years old at the time). My sister stayed on the ground. When we got up and realized the tree house was less than awesome and extremely unstable, we both got scared. The first rung (I used that word lightly) of the ladder was quite a stretch from the makeshift platform that we were gripping with white knuckles and I got a little freaked. I called to my sister and told her I couldnt’ get down and asked her to go get the next door neighbor (the father of the girl stuck in the tree with me). He came back with a long rope and after several tries got it close enough for me to grab. I fed it through the belt loops on my shorts, tied a big knot and with the confidence that he would save me, I started down the ladder. My intention was to get a few rungs down and then help my little friend get to the first few steps so we could go down together. Well, I stepped on the second rung, it broke away from the tree and all my weight fell on the rope around my waist. I went swinging through the trees like Tarzan. That’s the last thing I remember about my “treehouse rescue”. I know we both got down and I vaguely remember the neighbor having to climb up after us…. Nobody got hurt and this situation has been the topic of many a “crazy kid” story ever since.
Now, knowing the treehouse story….here’s the kicker of that adventurous summer.
I was playing next door, with the same little 5 year old girl. We were swinging on her swing- set. She had one with the two seated swing (the one where you sat facing each other). I was one side and she was on the other. We decided to see how high we could swing on that baby and each stood opposite one another and pumped like crazy. In my infinite wisdom, I stuck my right arm out (I have no idea what prompted me to do so) and SLAM, my arm struck the bar on the swing-set and was (for a moment) caught between the swing and the frame. I heard it break. I went running in the house to my mother, telling her I had just broken my arm. Of course she didn’t believe me, kids exaggerate right? She gave me some aspirin (probably an ice pack) and a pillow to lay my arm on. Nothing stopped the pain. She let me sleep in her bed that night (which in retrospect meant she was fairly worried about me). We got up the next morning and drove the 90 miles to the nearest hospital and sure enough, my arm was broken. I told you Mom! I wore a cast for nearly the entire summer. I still have the top half that the doctor let me keep. One of my mother’s friends wrote “smooth move exlax” on it…I thought that was the funniest thing ever.
Thinking back on my escapades I cannot believe I came through the tree house event relatively unscathed only to break my arm on a swing-set. Does not compute.