Back Yard Shack

In our back yard we had a small stand of sassafras tress. The trees grew in a cluster ranging from three to six feet apart. They presented the perfect vertical posts to build a backyard shack. When I was about nine, several boys from our neighborhood decided we would make this a project. We all scrounged around our basements and garages and assembled the most incongruous collection of lumber and sundry “building materials” and we went to work.

We constructed a two-room shelter of sorts. It even had a cement floor that looked like a terrain map of West Virginia. If you were careful, you could navigate to the back room without snagging on a nail. There was no need for windows because the gaps between the boards afforded panoramic –but slender– views. It provided some break from the rain but wind and snow penetrated without a hitch. In today’s world, it would violate neighborhood covenants. It did nothing to improve the value of home.

We had the opportunity to use our imagination and our fathers’ tools. Perhaps the true product of this effort was not the ugly shack.