An Afternoon Nap
Jason asked his dad if they could build a tree house.
“That will be a lot of work,” Dad said. “Where should we build it?”
“Oh Dad,” Jason scoffed. “There’s the perfect tree for it out back. You know, that big huge willow tree with all those low branches.”
“Ok, but where will we get all the wood we need? That’s a lot of wood; I bet you didn’t think about that, didja?” Dad asked.
“There’s the old chicken coop on the other side of the fence. No one’s used it in years!” Jason said, “I bet we can use that wood and make a really nice treehouse.”
“Hmmm,” Dad replied. “I guess so, but that does seem like a lot of work. I don’t think we could get it all done today, do you?”
“Sure we can, Dad. Come on!” Jason cheered. “I’m sure if you help me, we’ll get it done in no time.”
The two took Jason’s wagon out to the chicken coop and began pulling nails out of the half-broken-down wood. They piled all the pieces near the tree. By lunch, they had begun assembling the tree house.
While Dad was working on the tree house, Jason climbed down and ran toward the house. After a few minutes he returned, carrying a tray. When he reached the tree, Dad held the tray while Jason climbed up. They sat on the newly built floor of the treehouse eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oranges and drank lemonade.
“Thanks for lunch, Jay,” Dad said.
“No problem, Dad. My tummy was starting to growl but I know how you work.” Jason said.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Dad snapped. “I’ve been working hard today. I haven’t had one break.”
“Well, I just meant that if you stopped in the middle we might not finish it today. I know how you get tired in the afternoon Daddy. I didn’t mean to make you mad.” Jason looked like he was about to cry.
“I work hard, Jason. Sometimes I just need a nap.” Dad defended himself.
Jason started collecting the dishes, trying to hide the sadness he suddenly felt. Couldn’t today just be a nice day with Dad? It was so rare that they had time together since Mom passed away. Dad was always trying to make sure that they had what they needed. This treehouse was more than just a hideaway, it was going to be a ‘boys club’ where he hoped Dad would want to come and escape with him.
“I’m sorry for snapping, Jay.” His dad lowered his head in his hands. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I guess I just have to remember to take time for us to hang out, don’t I?” Dad reached over and rubbed Jason’s shoulder. “How about you take in the dishes and I’ll get back to work, okay?”
When Jason came back from the kitchen with some water bottles for the afternoon, he cut a board into four rectangles, with Dad’s help, of course, and nailed them to the tree for a ladder.
Since the floor of the treehouse was only three and a half feet off the ground there wasn’t much need for anything fancy.
By dinner time the treehouse was finished. There was an old curtain they stapled up for a door, and they even found an old cap from a rusted out R.V. that they used to put in a skylight. When they were finished for the day, Jason and his Dad stood off to the side and looked at their finished project.
“Wow Dad,” Jason said. “The tree house looks awesome! You really did a great job!”
“Thanks, bud.” Dad said. “But I certainly couldn’t have done it without you. You’re a great helper.”
“Thank you, Daddy. Now all we need to do is give it a paint job and it will be ready to rock!” Jason said.
“Ok, but how about doing that tomorrow? Let’s say we go for pizza tonight and relax a bit.” Dad put his arm around Jason’s shoulders and gave him a tug toward the car.
The next morning, Jason was excited to go out and paint the tree house while Dad mowed the lawn. Just as he was putting the finishing touches on the window frame, it was Dad’s turn to bring a tray.
“Anyone up for some peanut butter sandwiches and lemonade?” Dad asked as he climbed the ladder and peeked in the door.
The two buds sat in their new treehouse and ate their lunch. When they were both finished, Dad placed the cups on the tray and set it to the side. Both boys stretched out across the floor, hands behind their heads, and stared out the skylight at the passing clouds. Relishing in their hard work from the last two days, they slowly closed their eyes and took a long, afternoon nap.