As long as I live I will never forget that tree. The tree of strength and hope that sat in front of Papa's yard. We all stayed outside and climbed the tree morning day and night. We all had our designated spots. Ricky and Ryan would go all the way to the top where the branches could barely hold them. Thank goodness together they might have weighed sixty pounds. My sister would bring her book in and relax on the branches like a lazy-boy recliner. Candice and I would stay toward the shallow end of the tree, talking and reminiscing about the first six years of our lives. Rachel always seemed to be caught in the middle. She wanted to be with the boys because they were her age and she also wanted to be with all the girls.
In that tree we had no worries, no fears and most important no adults to boss us around.
That magnolia tree was the string that brought us all together and kept us close. We laughed, joked, and played together in that tree.
Years later after papa and grandma sold the house and moved to Florida ( because isn't that what all old people do) I went back to visit that house and much to my surprise the tree was gone. The new owners cut it down. They never knew about it's comfort and joy. They put a new coat of paint on the house and fixed up the barn but you can never replace that tree.