No, That’s Not What This Fort Is For!
Last September, in what was really a test to see how much of my youth fort-making skills I've retained over the last two decades, I helped my kids build a fort in our backyard.
You see, I spent most of my 4th-6th grade summers in my yard, building forts with the neighborhood kids. We got pretty good at it, after a while. And we'd hang out in our forts all day long, playing card games, eating snacks and using our imaginations! I wanted that my kids to experience those quintessential childhood moments, so I showed them the basics and they went to work on the rest.
A couple hours later they had a pretty awesome fort built with twigs, branches and string. And they LOVED this fort! The next day, most of the neighborhood kids came over and spent the next few afternoons hanging out in there, in our back yard!
The next weekend, while the kids were away, I noticed someone else in the fort.
I had come in from cleaning out the garage, and walked up to my coffee counter to get a refill. Through my sliding glass door, which happens to look out over the back yard, I noticed an older woman, with long white hair wearing a bright red windbreaker, walking through my back yard and around the back of the fort. I thought it was odd, especially since she started to squat down.
"Is she going to poop in my kids' fort?" I thought. "That would be horrible!"
Then I noticed the second set of legs.
"What the? Wait. No. Wait. Are they? No. They can't be doing that? OH MY G..."
The woman had stood up and turned around, and I saw both sets of legs moving in a way that I recognized from Sunday morning nature shows.
I called to my friend, who had come into the house before me use the restroom. "Look out the back window. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
Once it was confirmed that there were, in fact, two people partaking in activity better enjoyed in the privacy of one's bedroom, and not in my back yard, in broad daylight, IN MY KIDS' FORT, I saw nothing but red.
"Watch this," I said to my friend, who had come out from the bathroom to join me for a better view. And then I opened the sliding glass door.
"CAN I HELP YOU?" I yelled out into the back yard, in my most ferocious sounding Mad Mom voice. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING IN MY KIDS' FORT?"
"Nothing ma'am. Just passing through!" replied a man's voice, and I watched as he returned his trousers to the upright position.
"YOU'D BEST BE MOVING ALONG!" I called back to him.
"Yes, Ma'am. Will do!" he replied as he and his companion left our fort and headed away via the far end of my yard.
I was so grossed out! We checked the fort for...well...you know. They'd left no sign of their folly behind. But that didn't stop me from wanting to burn the thing down to the ground, and then burn it again, just for good measure!
I headed to a local pharmacy to get a refill on my Tums, since I now had a raging case of heartburn. Who should I meet on my way in, as she was walking out with a pack of smokes, but the lovely old lady in red, lighting up a cigarette.
Had I more wits about me at that moment, I would have told her that I was pretty confident she didn't need that smoke, as I was sure I'd interrupted things and her fella hadn't finished what he'd set out to do. Instead, I went straight for the antacid section and got an extra bottle!
I mean seriously! Come on! Who does that, in broad daylight, in a kid's fort?!
Now that the snow has melted, and my kids are back to playing outside in the yard, and in the fort (which amazingly held up through the entire winter and all those wind storms we had! Go 11 yr. old Cori's mad fort making skills!) I will be posting signs in my back yard. To my neighbors, you're all good. This is in no way an affront to you or your lovely kids who like to play in the yard. This is purely an effort to keep frisky folks from frolicking in our fort!