The Joke Tree
As I walked past the old tree on the parking that was marked to be cut down soon, I thought back. I thought back to all the memories that I held with that tree. All of my friends and I referred to it as the Joke Tree. It derived it's name from the fact that we would all climb up into it's branches then sit there and tell jokes. Late into summer evenings as the summer sun would go slowly into darkness, we would hold our posts on those branches. Sometimes there was only a couple of us, other times it could be closer to ten. Even if it started to rain, we could stay put under the natural umbrella of it's cover. It was far from the largest tree on the block, but it had the lowest and most easily accessible branches so it was the easiest to climb
Each of us had our "usual spot" in the tree, some of the bravest going the highest up and out over the pavement of the street. Those positions always depended upon who was present and their desired proximity to each other for best discussion results.
I remember once rigging up a stuffed clown with fishing line that would then be lowered from a branch over the street down to a car driving underneath. I don't remember who we ever lowered it on, but I remember we had to be careful who it was as we didn't want to get turned in to our parents for "being up to no good"..
That tree was kind of our "home base" for all summer time activities that we did. We hung out right below it with our bikes and had wheelie contests on the road near the tree. We would stay up very late discussing the trials of youth. Looking at the tree makes me think about all of what I used to do. I can remember sitting on the parking into the darkness with a few of our friends.... lounging on lawn chairs and eating dill pickle chips and drinking mountain dew. We referred to it as "moon tanning" and we'd wave to cars as they went by... I'm sure people wondered what we were up to. I think even we wondered what we were up to. What we were up to was we were trying to understand ourselves.... understand each other... understand what the heck all of "this" was about. We were at "that age", I was going into 7th grade and the other kids were all either going into high school or just into high school. We didn't understand much, but we understood that we liked conversations with each other because I think it's then that we realized that we weren't alone in our feeling of being lost and alone. We had each other and we had the Joke Tree.
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I'm just a creative guy that's looking to throw all this spaghetti onto the wall and hope something sticks.