Join the club at the clubhouse
It's in the garage in the party box, I replied, and before you jump to conclusions about what kind of parties we through around here let me quickly explain that the rope was left over from a pinata last summer.
Mom, I need a rag, he said a few minutes later.
Help yourself, I replied. They're under the bathroom sink.
How about some tape?
It's in the filing cabinet, I responded.
Ordinarily, that series of requests would have led me to wonder if he was tying his brother up somewhere. I didn't panic this time: I knew it was about the club house.
The hideaway, nestled in what passes for a shady tree in the desert, wasn't the guys' invention. The girls next door were the founders. Over the weekend, they decided to invite other members.
They'd cleared a circle around the tree trunk then carefully lined it with big rocks to denote the boundary. They'd dragged a brick from their patio, writing "come in" on one side and "keep out" on the other. "When you leave for the day, make sure you switch it to 'keep out,' " the founder said.
Then they built a swing out of rope, a rag and tape. The latter two supplies were used to construct a slightly padded seat. "It's a safety rope, too, in case you need help climbing the tree" Big Guy explained knowingly.
That's why Big Guy needed the same three things yesterday - extra club members mean the clubhouse needs an extra swing.
The club house also has brought extra peace and quiet to the real house. Situated about 50 yards from our back door, it lets the guys to escape Mom's clutches. It does not, however, let them escape females. The neighbors on each side are two sets of sisters. One set was deemed "fun" when they pulled out baseball gloves a week ago. The other set loves soccer and invented the club house. That makes all four OK in the guys' eyes.
The guys can't wait to get to the club house each day. They rush to get ready in the mornings without the aid of nagging or a chart.
Fights are few given that members are a half dozen siblings, though a big imbroglio last night brought Big Guy to the house with tears streaming down his face and complaints that an older girl insisted on telling him what to do. Big Guy thinks someone else is bossy? Look up "poetic justice" in the dictionary.
If a spat does erupt, it's likely to be between a member and a "non-member," such as the one this morning that broke out when a boy from one street over claimed a swing. "The trees belong to everyone," I told Big Guy. "You do have to share."
The boy gave up the seat after a few minutes - a reinforced rag isn't that comfortable, and besides, he'd wanted it mainly because he fancies himself in charge of the bus stop.
In the afternoons, though, it's largely blissful quiet indoors and out. I think I like this club.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.