Search for:

Slice of Life: The Tree

I was wandering the web about a week ago and stumbled across a website called, “Slice of Life Sunday.” It is a meme site that helps one focus his/her thoughts on a specific topic, and share a related life scene.

This week’s prompts are:
1.) A Lesson Learned in My Youth
2.) A Flight of Fancy

Ha! I thought. I can do both of those with just ONE story. I hopped over to my other blog, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, and fetched this back:

The Tree

You’ve got to know that the best toy in the world for any kid is a tree with good climbing branches. When I was a kid we had several such trees in our neighborhood and in the summer we would spend more time in them than we did on the ground.

One tree in particular – a young pine – was our favorite. The tree was still very supple and one day when a group of us decided to see how high we could all climb, the tree began to lean. The higher we climbed the farther it leaned. Soon we were suspended just a few feet above the ground.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but somebody suggested we all jump out of the tree at the count of three. Then came the counting, the jumping and the landing. It all went surprisingly well.

After my friends crawled off the top of me and we sorted out which limbs belonged to whom, no one was hurt – much. There was a problem though. We were on the wrong side of the fence, in the Khol’s yard instead of the Jacobs’ yard. This meant that to climb the tree again we had to run through the Khol Orchard, scramble down the embankment, around the end of the fence, scramble back up the embankment, run across a small clearing and back into the stand of pines that housed our tree.

It really wasn’t much of a trip, 50 or 60 yards at most, but as we sprinted the course for the third time, I realized I was getting a little tired. After the fourth trip, as we were climbing the tree, I thought to myself, “I need a rest,” so I decided not to jump.

As the others prepared for departure, I snuggled up to the tree. I put my belly flush against the bark and wrapped my arms tight around the trunk. Handsome began counting …

One: I tightened my arms.

Two: I tightened my legs and crossed my ankles.

Three: …………………………..

I landed flat on my back in the Jacobs’ dog run. When I opened my eyes Thor, the German Shepherd god of thunder, towered over me. Thor spent most of his daily energy trying to catch small children to snack on, and there I was delivered to him from heaven — literally.

Truthfully, at that moment I really wasn’t too concerned about Thor. Probably because I thought I was already dead. There was no air in my body. I could not breathe.

As I lay there gasping … choking … convulsing, Thor raised his ears in curiosity, tipped his head sideways and smiled at me.

About that time my friends arrived, stopping safely out of reach of Thor’s chain. They were wonderfully helpful and shouted such encouragements as:

“Lay still!”

“Play dead!”

“Don’t move!”

I was reasonably certain I wasn’t playing dead.

Finally Preacher, the eldest Kohl kid, stretched out on his stomach and, risking his hand to Thor’s wrath, grabbed my ankle. Slowly, inch-by-inch he pulled me to safety. As soon as I was freed from Thor’s realm, my companions thought I should just pick myself up and walk home.

I remained on the ground convulsing like a fish out of water.

“Maybe we should take her home,” someone suggested. There were murmurs of agreement.

“How?” Someone else queried.

There were other comments, too. “That’s a lot of blood,” and “I’m not going to touch her,” are two I remember. I mean, being too bloody to touch had serious “cool” potential — providing I lived.

My struggle to draw air into my lungs distressed my friends to such an extent that they each grabbed one of my limbs and half-drug, half-carried me across the street and into my own yard. One of them ran to the door to get Gram so she could view my remains.

Gram declared that I would live and set to proving it with a tub of hot water, a scrub brush and much vigor. When she was finished saving me I almost resembled a human girl-child, except most of my visible skin was Mercurochrome neon-orange.

Gram rarely punished me for my stupidity. Usually she just left me to suffer the consequences of my actions — alone — in my room — for days (which sometimes lasted as long as a half-an-hour).

Post originally published on June 30th, 2006

As to the flight, I’m not certain how fancy it was, but it was certainly educational, so I figure it counts for the prompts. And if not, prompt #3 is Writer’s Choice.

UPDATE:  It appears that The Tree has posted the story from its point-of-view:  The Kids.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Oh the wisdom of youth – how did we survive? I am still laughing as I envision your flight. What must the your friends have thought as you flew through the air. Thank you joining Slice of Life Sunday. I hope to see more of you.

  2. This is great! I am trying to think of what to write for slice of life this week. I think you’ve spurred a memory that I might be able to wiggle out. I’m sure glad you turned out ok! that’s quite a fall!
    Your Gram sounds great 😀

  3. Oh I had MISSED this one… it’s a goody! We never climbed pine trees — we found we got too stinky and the sap just NEVER washed off! Oh… maybe I should say we learned early NOT to climb pine trees. Apple trees and cherry trees were our favorites…

    No dragons in those trees… *sigh*

  4. Carletta — fearless? In order to fear I would have had to have had enough sense to know there was a possibility of danger ….

    Cricket — you know, I don’t think my friends ever mentioned what was going on in their heads. Probably just, “Oh, there she goes again.”

    Jen — glad to be of assistance!

    Melli — pine sap is in my blood. It also put food on the table. My daddy was a logger.

  5. But what was the lesson learned?
    You aren’t dead till the Doctor says your dead?
    Some dogs aren’t as bad as they seem.?
    Hold tighter to the tree?
    Stay with your friends no matter what?

  6. Polona — OC wonders, too.

    Dr. John — the lessons I learned should have been obvious! I learned that trees a very unpredictable, and that gravity huts. And, come to think of it, I did learn that Thor wasn’t near as mean as his bark lead me to believe.

    Cath — I guess you could say I had it pounded into me!

    SN — because I fell out of one? Wow! 😉

  7. I remember falling very hard flat out on my belly when I was a kid. I don’t remember why or how I fell, I just remember the feeling that I was going to die if I couldn’t start breathing soon – very soon. I know it wasn’t a flight out of a tree, however. This is a great story, and I’m glad you survived to tell it. 😀

  8. Julianna??? Who IS this Julianna of whom you speak? I do not see her in your blog, and she has not commented in MY dragon post… How do I FIND her dragon? And I can not WAIT to see YOUR dragon!

  9. Eve — I have had the misadventure of experiencing that feeling more times than I wish. I’m glad you, too, are well!

    OC — are you comparing me to George of the Jungle?

    Melli — She is a well-known secret, and visits my blog daily. Honest. Hmm, maybe she picked the theme up from Dr. John? She visits him, too. And I have seen her visit you!

  10. I am in shock! What a story! That is too fantastic to have been a pretend story. I bet that day has been firmly etched into my mind for all eternity.

  11. The more I think on it, it reminds me of a friend of ours who has a similar story. He and his brothers would always find ways of entertaining on their farm… imitating Rambo for example. If Rambo could let the boughs of a tree catch him and go gently to the ground then so could they. Yeah they really did and several times. They couldn’t understand why their mom stood on the ground screaming as they climbed to the top of a big pine and then threw their heads back to ride the branches down on their backs.

  12. This story is right up there with you bicycle story. I had a good chuckle, thanks. I can see you lying on the ground with Thor hovering over you. He was probably wondering what this gift from Heaven (as you said) was.

    I don’t know how I missed this on your “Grown-Up’s blog.

    Hope OC is doing better.

  13. Shelly — I grew up in the best neighborhood ever!

    Jules — that was only one of many indelible memories. And one of the tamer ones at that! Oh, and that Rambo thing? I did it first, long before Rambo was ever conceived.

    Bill — you do seem to enjoy my more bloody adventures!

    Holly — my childhood was full of them!

Comments are closed.