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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: Treehouse Weather In America

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This is treehouse weather. The hot, dog days of summer. The right weather for climbing up into the deep green shade of an oak tree’s canopy. Sweet relief.

I recently came across my very sporadically written diary from when I was 11. In August of 1963, I wrote about my treehouse. I loved taking my transistor radio (for Harry Carey’s Cardinal baseball broadcasts), my Tom Sawyer book and a few comics up into my woody retreat. Like Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude,” I got away from all of life’s troubles up there. Just me and Harry, Superman, Batman, Mark Twain and the summertime hum of the Memphis cicadas.

Up in my treehouse I could forget about Brenda Norris. I loved her with all my heart, but she icily ignored me. Up there, there was no Bradly Marx. Bradly was the neighborhood bully who screamingly introduced me to the f-word once as I rode my bike past his house. And up in that treehouse there was no Wednesday night prayer meeting. I was the only kid whose parents dragged him to our fire-and-brimstone service.

No unrequited love. No bullies. No hellfire. That tree wrapped protective limbs around me. Its leaves shushed the threatening din of all the rest of the world.

Now here we are in an August in which we so badly need the solace of a protecting force. Solace from hate. Solace from those who fan the flames of hate. Solace from the deadly results of those fanned flames. And there’s no treehouse around.

It really is a shame. Because this is treehouse weather in America.