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Carol Perkins: Camping - ranch style and city style

Carol prefers 'city' style.
Next earlier Carol Perkins column:Carol Perkins: The Swimming Pool Story Part II

By Carol PerkinsBR>
Our son Jon lives in Austin, Texas right in the hubbub of city life. To escape, he goes to his mother-in-law's "ranch" to hunt, clear brush, or fish with his kids on weekends. His family occasionally camps along the river at the ranch, but Beth and I both like camping "city style." Jon's roots are in the outdoors.

Mary, his mother-in-law, lives in Belton, Texas on several acres a little out of town and about fifteen miles from the "ranch." (We would call it a farm.) The grandkids ride their go-cart over the huge lot or pet the neighbor's donkey that comes to the fence when the kids are visiting "MiMi." Jon is lucky to have a foot in each world.

A couple of years ago, Jon decided to build a tree house in one of the big oaks in Mary's backyard. The tree was large enough to tolerate the massive house he built, complete with a zip line to another tree across the yard. When Jon had the time, he and his family drove up to Belton on weekends and worked on the treehouse. It was a family project that took over a year to complete.

One day several months after it was finished, Jon noticed the tree did not look right. On further examination, he discovered that it didn't look "right" because it was dying. Parts were already dead. He couldn't risk the kids climbing and zipping any longer, so he had to tear down the tree house, piece by piece. After all his hard work, the tree died! I would have been more than a little agitated.

Did the hammering and nailing kill the tree or was it already dying before he started? I didn't ask. The only thing I said was, "All that hard work and now this had to happen." I felt sorry for him.

Jon's reply was, "Yeah, it's a shame, but look at the time we spent together building it!"

When we moved to our present home in the early eighties and Jon was only seven, Guy and Jon built a treehouse. Afternoon after afternoon, they nailed planks and positioned them with me saying, "Don't put it too high!" Every friend who visited ended up in that treehouse, drinking Kool-Aid and eating peanut butter sandwiches. All that remains now are a few planks lying in the underbrush.

Jon may not build another treehouse, but he will continue to create outdoor projects with his kids; that is how he is wired. Even when they might want him to leave them alone awhile and go off to the den and watch TV so they can play their video games, he is quick to say, "Get on your boots; let's go to the ranch and don't think about taking those Ipads!" Frankly, when I'm with Jon and kids, he wears all of us out with activities. How lucky they are to have such an active father, and how glad I am I can come home and rest.

(My new book, A Girl Named Connie, is available at Blossoms Florist and Boutique Unique, 507 Happy Valley Road, Glasgow, KY 42141, Phone 270-629-3597; the Edmonton/Metcalfe Chamber of Commerce, 109 E Stockton Street, Edmonton, KY, Phone 270-432-3222; and the Lighthouse Restaurant, 1500 Sulphur Well/Knob Lick Road, Sulphur Well Historic District, KY 42129. Phone 270-629-3597. And Also on

Carol would love to hear from you at or call 270-670-4913.

This story was posted on 2017-03-29 07:25:38
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