Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arboreal Brandyn

Brandyn Boatwright was a wild one. He had a quick temper and a quicker tongue. He had a never give up, never think attitude. Whatever you could do he could do. He was loud, obnoxious and annoying. He was also a barrel full of fun.

Many are the tales told of good old Brandyn and many of you reading this are laughing already. I chose to open these tales with a selection from the old tree house days. Many young boys have a tree house, in many ways we had THE tree house. It was truly awesome and was the result of years of work. It was composed of a number of platforms built at various heights in between pine trees.

We would pick four trees and nail 2x4s between them to make a base and then cover it with some kind of flooring. The platforms were connected together by a number of simple bridges. We had a few zip lines that we used to shoot down to the ground. There was also a rope we used to swing on and skin the cat off of. Well, it wasn't really a rope, it was a huge industrial electric cord. It was probably close to an inch in diameter and was coated in a rubber jacket just like any other extension cord. Dad had gotten it from somewhere. We took it and used it for a rope.

It was suspended by a small pine tree we had cut down and nailed between two other trees. The top was close to twenty feet off the ground. It hung between two of the tree house platforms about five or ten feet from each one. We used ladders made of boards nailed between two trees to climb up, but almost always used the rope to slide down. We would jump from the platforms and grab the rope. As it was coated in rubber it was soft on the hand and had a great grip. The first time you made the jump it would scare the life out of you. A few jumps latter and it became second nature. All these details are important to remember.

Brandyn and Josh had been out playing at the tree house. I was out there as well working on some project or another. They started getting into it, I don't remember about what, but they were getting louder and louder. Josh was swinging around on the rope mocking Brandyn. Brandyn was standing on the highest platform yelling at Josh. Finally Brandyn got mad enough he decided to do something about it.

“How do like this?” Brandyn asked as he started peeing on the top of the rope. Josh immediately let go as Brandyn's personal rinse ran down to the ground. “There! Enjoy swinging on it now!” Josh looked up at Brandyn “I'll just wait until the rain washes it off!”. I am sure at that moment Brandyn felt that victory was his. He had gotten the better of Josh.

The problem was that his sense of victory gave him closure on the issue. Because of that he immediately forgot all about the argument and what the results had been. Two minutes later he decided to come down and see what Josh was doing. So, he did what had become second nature to him. He jumped out of the tree house and grabbed onto the rope.

Now, the funny thing about rubber is that, although it has great traction when it's dry, it is very slick when it is wet. He held in his hands a urine soaked rubber rope. As a result he dropped to the ground like a stone! He fell to the earth like a sack! After a moment he picked himself up trying to get his breath back. As soon as he could speak he looked at me and said: “Hey bro, could you brush me off, I've got pee on my hands....”

Needless to say I burst out laughing. I felt like he had almost enough punishment and brushed him off. I walked back up to the house with him so he could get washed up. Once we got there I refused to open the door. I made him kick on it with his feet until Mom answered. He explained why he couldn't open the door while I stood there laughing. Sadly for Brandyn that wasn't his last tree house adventure.

We had a number of the guys over to celebrate the start of summer one year. As part of the festivities we had built a number of pipe bombs. Now, you may think of a pipe bomb as a tool for terrorists, but these weren't. They were just very large firecrackers. Of course, they were made out of pipes. Plus, they were filled with a lot of gun powder... OK, they were bombs, but we didn't mean any harm. We just wanted to make a bit of noise and we were very very careful.

Well, most of the time we were careful. The day of the party we had set off several. Most of us guys were sitting up in the top platform of the tree house. Josh and David were down on the ground. They were in charge of placing the bombs and lighting the very long fuses before they ran for it. The first few bombs had gotten a good deal of admiration, but I wanted to show our guests what they could really do.

It was decided that we should place one of the biggest bombs under a large steel pot that we kept out at the tree house. My brother rigged up a stick with a line on it and propped the pot up with it. The bomb was placed under the pot. David lit the fuse, Josh pulled the string and dropped the pot right on top of it. They both dove for cover in a little clay pit we had dug. All of us on the platform leaned out to get a better look and wait for the boom.

After a few tense moments it went off! The sound was incredible. We scanned for the remains of the pot, but there weren't any. A mummer of disbelieve went through the crowd. I knew it was impossible, that bomb could not have destroyed that pot. All of this had happened in an instant. Suddenly I heard the sound of breaking tree branches. I looked for the source of the sound. At last I saw it! It was the pot falling back through the trees!

I was stunned, I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing. The bomb had blown the pot above the tree line. Slowly I realized that the pot seemed to be coming right towards me. At the last moment I yelled and stuck my hand up to protect my face. It hit me on the palm and almost sprained my wrist. However, I was the lucky one.

Brandyn was still scanning the ground. He was searching the area for the remains of the pot. His back was to me as I deflected the falling pot with my hand. It bounced off of my palm and hit Brandyn right in the back of the head. Fortunately for him all the guys in the tree house had great reaction time. He was grabbed by around five pairs of hands almost instantly. Unfortunately he was leaned out so far when it hit him that no one could grab him above the belt. Everyone had a hold on the back of his pants. He was knocked completely unconscious, swaying over the edge of the tree house, kept from falling only by the many hands holding his pants.

At last we got him pulled back onto the platform. Suddenly he woke up. “What happened?” he asked. We all burst out laughing as soon as we knew he was alright. It had been a bit too close for comfort and that was the end of the pipe bombs. Well, that was the end of them for that day...

I hope you all enjoyed that. As always be sure to let your friends know about this little blog.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew about this. You know if I had known you all had bottle rockets and were SHOOTING them at each other, that would have been the end of your fun! It's a wonder Jim's mom didn't call me about his shirt-----lol.