Fortitude

I don’t remember what we were doing before, I don’t remember how the idea came up, I don’t even remember who said it, but the words, “Let’s make a fort!” were the best words I had heard in all my eight years.

“Really?” I asked. It sounded too good to be true. I had never built a fort before.

“Yeah!” my cousin exclaimed, clamoring to the top bunk of the beds he and his brother shared. He started tossing down pillows and blankets. I grabbed what I could and excitedly awaited direction.

He leapt off the bunk and landed with a soft thud on the pile of blankets and sheets. He scooped up an armful and said, “Come on!” as he lead me out to the dining room.

When we got to the dining room, we plopped our building materials down and started pulling the chairs out from their place neatly tucked under the table. We carefully removed the centerpiece from the top of the tall wooden table and put it safely in the kitchen where we were sure not to break it. We tossed some pillows underneath and started draping a sheet over the top of the table. We managed to get it across the table and the four chairs, and we stepped back to admire our work. While we tilted our heads to the side, racking our seven and eight-year-old brains to come up with a way to improve it, his two siblings emerged from the sunroom where they had been playing video games. “What are you two doing?” his sister asked us. She was twelve and for all intents and purposes, the one in charge, since our uncle slept soundly in another room. I shifted nervously while my cousin answered, “We’re building a fort.” We held our breath for the repercussions when his brother scoffed, “Not a very good one.”
His sister joined in his laughter, “Yeah, this looks more like a circus tent. Here, try using this too.” she added, dragging a wicker chair from the corner to join the fray. Ecstatic for the help, my cousin and I quickly grabbed another blanket and brought it over.

The four of us worked together, laughing and fighting all the while, and eventually ran out of linens and furniture to use. This time, when we stepped back to admire our work, we didn’t have a lumpy tent, we had an intricate maze of tunnels and caverns – an underground lair that went all the way from the hallway, through the dining room and well into the living room.

We didn’t just create what we set out to do, we didn’t stop at a simple fort, with teamwork, creativity and a dash of imagination, we created an adventure.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 05/29/2012.

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