Tuesday, October 13, 2015


When I was a younger man I liked to get on top of things.

Like buildings.

It started, I believe, when I was a little kid.

I liked to climb trees.

I had a favorite place in what I called "the big tree" in a weedy alley a few houses away from ours in Stanley, North Dakota, where I grew up.

I would climb up there and, sheltered and hidden by the leaves, sit for hours, some times reading a book, some times just looking out over "my realm" and living in my imagination.

Some years later I became an amateur radio operator and climbed on various roofs to string antennas.

Being up on roofs never lost its fascination for me.

The views from above were fascinating to me and made me feel somehow powerful.

I remember once in Phoenix during an evening with friends, Timmer and Beaner, I climbed to our roof to get a better look at a distant lightning storm.

My wife and my friends refused to join me and only got me to come down when I "needed" a cigarette.

(I smoked in those days as did everyone else.)

But old age and the infirmities it brings have put a stop to my climbing.

So this rang a bell with me.

As one of my heroes, the late Kurt Vonnegut, would say - "so it goes."


joeh said...

I get nervous on a step ladder.

Tom Cochrun said...

A giant elm in the front yard of our little home in Muncie was a similar refuge for me.
Best to leave the climbing to younger knees and ankles. I've noticed I'm now taking hills and inclines more gingerly when we hike. The "high view" now is from someone's deck or windows or the view from a high rise, though I'm rarely in those buildings anymore.

L Lewis said...

You had friends named Timmer and Beaner? What did they call you?

Jager said...

My friends and I (Dickie and Johnny) rode out a thunderstorm in a big cottonwood by the mighty Red River of the North We could barely hang on. We felt safe because it hung out over the river, so if it broke.... Never gave the lightening a thought until we saw a cottonwood hit by lightening later that summer. Wasn't a good idea/ BTW, you should have taken your smokes up on the roof with you.

Catalyst said...

They called me MISTER Taylor!

Stephen Hayes said...

It's a shame that kids are in such a hurry to grow up because you have much more time to spend as an adult than you do as a carefree kid.

Lowandslow said...

So when your delinquent friends asked if you wanted to "get high", it that what you thought they meant? ;)