We used to have the world’s greatest tree swing. The swing was high in the branches of a Chinese Elm that grew at the corner of our big country house in Knox County. It must have been at least fifteen feet or more off the ground.
We all enjoyed the swing, but Heidi especially loved it. She would ride the swing for hours and cry if you took her off. She would cry higher, higher. I have in my memory a picture of her in a jumper, her blonde hair blowing in the wind, eyes as blue as the sky, pumping her little bare legs. You couldn’t push her high enough to satisfy her. I would push her until the rope slacked and her toes touched the branches of the tree. (But only if her mother was not looking).
One day I was mowing with a brush hog behind a big Farmall “H” and hooked the swing with the fender of the tractor. I couldn’t stop in time and I pulled the swing down and the entire branch it was tied to. It came down so easily that I have always wondered if it was rotten and ready to come down at any time anyway. When we hung the swing back up we had to use a branch much closer to the ground so it was about a third of it’s original size.
Someday Heidi will have a child of her own. I hope the Lord blesses her with a dozen. She will take them out back and swing them in a swing. I hope her mind goes back over the years and across the miles to the back yard of the old farmhouse on Rutledge Road. Only then will she realize the joy she brought to my heart.