Saturday, April 3, 2010

Peek in the Past--Nothing to Climb

There was nothing to climb in our new home in Hale, Cheshire. Our old place had walls and trees, and a garden swing that inventive minds turned into a climbing frame and circus trapeze. Life takes on a different perspective when you’re soaring in the breeze. Imagination gains more freedom somehow.

I still recall perching high in a leafy lilac tree in our front garden at Knutsford, calling down to my mother, “I’ll be climbing trees when I’m ninety!”

The closer I get to ninety, the more I flinch at that idea. I’m only in my sixties at the moment, and the thought of clambering up a tree is no longer pleasant. But back then, a house with nothing up which to climb, and no attic in which to hide, was not my idea of fun.

It was because I was up a tree one day, in our cousins’ garden back in Knutsford, that we found our dog, Gyp. They lived around the corner from us, and had a huge oak with branches overhanging the neighbor’s concrete yard. I looked down, and there they were—the most adorable trio of puppies I’d ever seen. The mother was a Corgi. We found out later the father was a Spaniel. So the pups had their mum’s size and dad’s floppy ears. I wanted one with such fervor I nearly fell out of the tree in my rush to race home and tell my mother.

I’ll never know how I managed to convince Mum to visit the puppies, but once she saw them, she too was smitten. Persuading Dad was another matter. I think the fact his brother (our uncle) agreed to his family having the tan colored girl, was the thing that made him say yes. Brotherly rivalry, maybe?

Anyway, we took the little black male home, and I was happier than frog in a rainstorm after a drought. After all, a real live dog was way more entertaining than an imaginary horse.

I’m sure my brother and sister had some claim to Gyp, but in my mind he belonged to me. He was a bright little friend, quick to learn tricks, and devoted to protecting our household. I think he must have thought he was ten times his real size from the way he defended us and our property.

Climbing trees may not be for the older generation, but it brought happiness back in the day.

Happy Easter, everyone. And remember, "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf in springtime." (Martin Luther)

Anne Bradshaw
Famous Family Nights