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Kelly & Rory Build A Treehouse In The Basement


The little boy named, Kelly Christiansen, was born in the hospital at the Air Force Base in the desert of California on September, 30, 2006.  He knew as soon as he could walk that the empty desert was very useful, for their daddy.  He was an Air Force Test Pilot, who flew mostly big C-130’s and that huge, dry, desert had miles and miles of room for Edwards, Air Force Base.  And even better, there was plenty of sky space for him, and the other pilots, to fly their different airplanes without worrying about towns under them.  Sometimes mom would point daddy out to him as his plane passed over their house. because she knew how to tell his plane from the others.

It’s a fact that when your Daddy gets married while stationed at that large Air Force Base in Little Rock Arkansas and has a son born, while stationed at Edwards, in the middle of California, followed by a daughter, Lorelei Lally, born, June 1, 2010, half way around the world in England, close to the giant rocks of Stone Henge, you know for sure that you are going to have an interesting life, always moving from place to place.

Still you cannot imagine how exciting it could then become when you leave England for Alabama, a United States southern state on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, only to almost lose your English accent and not quite acquire a southern accent to find that your daddy has been transferred to work in the great Pentagon Building in our country’s Capitol, Washington, District of Columbia.  And even more confusing, he and mom bought a house in another different state.  Virginia, Kelly was pretty sure he heard them call it.  Soon they would be moving once again.

Kelly knew something was about to happen when their dad’s mom, Grammy Pammy, came to baby sit them, even though he was now six and no longer a baby, but he guessed Rory, as they all called his new sister, Lorelei, qualified as still a baby.  She was still only two at the time.  So, as things were, as usual, not in his control, he relaxed and enjoyed all of the fun things Grammy planned for them to do while his parents were house hunting in Virginia.

His parents had, for the first time, as far as he knew, bought a house of their very own instead of living on base or renting out in the community.  Their very own home actually waited somewhere for them to move into it this time.  That should be different and interesting, although he really didn’t understand how that was much different from renting or living on base in a government house.

Even when they lived on Base they always took good educational trips around the new areas to learn about how things in the new place were different from the last places.  They always were too.  Mostly the people spoke with different accents.

He would always remember how he had once built a very fine tree house, with a little help from big people, at the rented house in England and how much he had hated to leave it behind.  He and his friends, even his sister, Rory, had had a lot of fun playing in it for all of the months they lived there. He tried to think of how to move it but…  Even though the Air Force packed and took all of their belongings and furniture to the next Base for every move, he soon learned that the tree house did not qualify to make the journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  So as an experienced tree house builder, he decided he would now have to make himself a new one in Virginia.  He wondered what kind of trees they had.  With a little luck a big one with lots of strong branches would be waiting there.

Although he didn’t yet learn the names of all of the trees that he saw on the drive to their house, he was disappointed to see that their yard didn’t contain a single tree large enough to construct anything upon.

Kelly’s mother tried to comfort him with the knowledge that they did have a nice large basement in the new house.  It would have the washer and drier and plenty of room for them to play in.  So that is how Kelly came to be the first little boy to ever build a tree house in his basement.

He knew at once that he would not be content with a tree house that sat flat bang on the floor, so his first challenge was to push some large things to the end of the room where he and Rory were to have for their toys.  Fortunately the adults were so busy unpacking and putting the rest of the house in order that as long as they kept busy in that room, no one paid much attention to what they were doing.

Some of the furnishing had been packed for shipping by boat in rather large wooden crates as they had to travel from England across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S.A.

For awhile many were left in storage until they were through with dad’s new school in Alabama and were now waiting for them whenever they arrived in Virginia for his next job.

Mom had pried several large crates open and was busy carrying stuff up stairs to be put in place.  This was almost always some place that only she could choose, so to be certain it was done right, she just did that job herself.

So Kelly kept Rory busy helping him shove the empty crates to their side of the basement, where he actually took a hammer and pounded in some nails to keep them stacked as he wanted them.

He taught Rory the route to go up around the closed crates to the top box, as he had very carefully planned it in his own secret way.  When the last available crate had been, with great effort, by both children pulling the rope, placed the last box so it nearly touched the ceiling, Kelly nailed it to the one beneath it and finally, tied the rope, which he hoped was not a rope his dad would want, to lead the way all of the route down the secret path, for Rory to use to go up and down.  He was, of course big enough to climb hands free, but he never knew when a child of one of his mother’s friends would be down in the basement attempting to go up.  One thing he learned as a child in the Military was, “Safety First”.

Both children had soft things that they would be seeking out as more crates were unpacked.  Special blankets, small cuddly animals, stuffed, of course, and a pillow or two would quickly become the furniture in the new and very original basement tree house.

Kelly confiscated the smallest Styrofoam ice chest, so it wouldn’t take up too much space.  They would now have a place to keep food snacks and drinks.  Kelly also knew how much his mother hated bugs in the house, so he knew they would not be encouraged to take up very much food.

The English tree house was in an enormous tree just outside their deck, so all he had to do was brush the crumbs out of the house down to the ground below.  Being inside would make a difference.  He would rather be careful and not leave any crumbs than have to clean them up.

After lunch the next day Kelly told mom that they both planned on going down to the basement and then up to the tree house for their naps.  As this was the first time in her memory that his mother had ever heard one of the kids suggesting that they take a nap, that she easily gave her approval.  Even Rory, who was usually taking a different approach to something to be just the opposite of her brother, Kelly, was standing there nodding her head up and down with a big smile.  How could mother say no to that?

Mother carried the basket of dirty laundry down with her, as long as she was making the trip, to be sure they were alright, she may as well do that job, too.

She was astonished to see that Kelly really did seem to have built a tree house.  She nervously watched tiny Rory disappear around the first crate and then the second one until she stopped and waved down before going into the top box. Kelly followed.  In a split second both kids were looking out of the long window which Kelly had made by pounding off a couple of slats on the laundry room side.  They paused and threw kisses down to their mother as she loaded the washer.

Mother left the washing machine going, to return as soon as the load was washed, so she could put the clean clothes into the drier. She looked at her watch… about 20 minutes.

The children stood at the window to enjoy the feeling of being up so close to the basement ceiling.

As they looked over the things still on the floor, like Rory’s pink plastic tricycle and a couple of yellow plastic trucks next to the baskets mom brought the clothes down in, when suddenly the tree house began to rock, just a little at first and Kelly began to worry that he had not used enough nails to hold it together.  Maybe he would add a few tomorrow.  They sat and organized their blankets and stuffed toys .  Two little beds were made up with a raggedy, old, stuffed, rabbit in Kelly’s and a quite new, pink, Teddy Bear with a fresh, white, ribbon around his neck in Rory’s.

Kelly had a few things to put in order, like where to put the ice chest so that it was out of the way and he brought one small framed photograph with him.  It was of the two of them in the old tree house in England.  Kelly wanted to nail it to the wall someplace, but where?  Rory pointed to the space over his bed so he put the nail there, just as the house shook again.  Had he caused it pounding in the tiny tack?   He hung the picture with no trouble and put the hammer away until he had time to work on that shaking problem.

They looked out the window again and saw mother just leaving from putting the clothes in the drier.  She went up the stairs quietly thinking they were both asleep.

Mother was no longer there when a cold wind suddenly began to blow.  They both closed their eyes against it and clung to the edge of the window until it finally stopped as quickly as it started.   When they opened their eyes again they were amazed at the sight of tree leaves all around just outside of their glassless window.  They could see heavy branches that held twigs full of fresh smelling, bright, green, leaves.

Both kids used both hands, moving leaves aside to see out and were finally looking out, rewarded and amazed, at the wonderful view.  Off in the distance there stood a tall castle, shining in the sun.  Kelly recognized it. They had visited that same castle when they lived in England.  How did it get here?  Or should he wonder how they got there?

Rory just smiled at the familiar sight so near to where she was born… until she saw the giant dragon that was out by the castle, lumbering slowly across the green hillside, coming in their direction.

Kelly watched it too, afraid to point it out to his sister so as not to scare her.  As it came closer, he saw that it was very large and frightening with smoke pouring from its nostrils

Rory laughed and pointed shouting loudly.

“Look, look, Kelly. See the big horsey?  Here horsey, come here horsey.”

‘No Rory.  Don’t call it here!  It’s supposed to stay at the castle.  We don’t want it to come here.”   Kelly tried to convince her.  But she thought she did want it.  She loved horses.  So she jumped up and down waving to the dragon with both hands.

The dragon must have seen her because he began to thunder his huge feet faster in their direction.  Kelly was getting worried now and was trying to decide what he should do.  He had not taken any weapons into the tree house.  Why would he?  There could be no need.  He looked at what they had.  His rabbit and her Teddy Bear wouldn’t scare off anything.  Just as he was thinking they should run out and away from the tree house, help happily showed up.

A silver knight on a white horse appeared riding fast from the castle gate, over the moat and across the land he galloped until he was right in front to the dragon.  Then he shouted “halt” as he drew his long shiny sword and waved it at the snorting dragon, who appeared to not have a worry, as he blew flames from his mouth and tried unsuccessfully to send the knight back to the castle.

However, the brave knight knew what he had to do.  He urged his equally brave horse closer and tapped the challenging dragon hard right on the very end of his huge nose with his sharp, sword tip and the flames stopped at once.

The startled dragon paused and looked surprised, even just a bit fearful, before he turned to run away as fast as he could. The once fire breathing monster disappeared into the woods behind the castle.

The Knight waved his plumed hat at the two children in the tree house window and rode proudly back through the castle gate.

“Bye-bye, horsey.  Bye-bye, man.”  Rory called after them, then sadly added, “Big green horsey all gone.”   She sat down on her quilt and pillow, then pulled in her Teddy Bear and quickly fell sound asleep.

Before settling down Kelly took one last look at the lovely scene.  With nothing else for him to do before his nap, Kelly reached out and took in a hand full of the green leaves and put them under his pillow.  They had such a pleasant green odor he enjoyed as he dropped into sleep.

Kelly woke up first and lay quietly in his warm blanket looking at the leaves in his window.  A little bird that looked just like the one that came to his English tree house window, hopped on a branch and began to sing.  That’s strange, Kelly thought, we must still be in England.  I wonder if mom has missed us?  He was still drowsy and comfortable, so he closed his eyes again and slept until Rory began to bounce about and ask him about those horses, she had seen from the window.

“Horseys…  all bye-bye.”  She said   He got up and looked out the window.  Mom was back folding clothes from the drier.

She looked up as she heard them and smiled.

“You two sleepy heads took a long nap.  You must have worn yourselves out building your new tree house.  Come on down and we’ll go up to the kitchen and get you each a nice cold glass of chocolate milk.”

Kelly knew at once that he was very thirsty and began to roll up his blanket and pillow together to drop them out to his mother.  Rory began to copy him.  He dropped the bundle down and mom came to pick it up.  As she did, the green leaves scattered to the floor.  She bent down curious and picked a handful of them up.

“Where did you get these?”  mom asked, after she held them up to her nose, commenting,  “They are so fresh and green.  I haven’t seen any like these around our yard.”

“Oh, they came from England.”  Kelly announced matter-of-factly, “ We both just blew there on a strong, cold, wind and the whole tree house landed right by the tree that those grew on.  That same English castle we all visited was in the distance and…. Well, I’ll tell you later.  Right now I want some chocolate milk.”  He didn’t want to worry her about the dragon…not just yet.

Rory shook her head in agreement, then… “Chocolate milk!” she repeated, louder, and pushed her blanket and pillow out of the window for her mom, then added softly and a little sadly… “Big horseys and shiny man, all gone bye-bye.”

“That’s alright, Dear”  mom soothed her, “So come on down and we will go up to our new kitchen and get you both some cold chocolate milk and even a couple of graham crackers, okay?”  Mother then picked up the basket of clothes with the children’s little blankets heaped on top to carry up stairs, as she wondered if Kelly had been telling his sister some horse stories before they went to sleep.

Then as she passed the waste basket, she dropped the sweet smelling leaves in, and still didn’t understand how or where he could have gotten them.

Somehow, I can’t believe this is really…THE END.

Because I am sure that basement tree house is very, very, unusual.

Happy third birthday, Rory