This morning I got an email from my cousin Mary and she asked a simple question, “How’s your summer going?” I love loaded questions like that because then I can use my computer to paint a scene with my words about the little things that are too good not to forget but unless I am prodded I won’t write them down. Simple questions like Mary’s are my muse to a bigger picture.
I told her I never wish my summers away although I do like my quiet mornings where I can write and concentrate on other things besides Nerf bullets and boys being duct tape to trees. I attached the picture of Noah duct taped to a tree at that point of the email and I realized the story behind this picture is just too good not to share.
So here is my email to Mary explaining the story behind the picture because for those who know me, by now you know, there always is one at Barclay’s International Finishing School for Men (free tuition):
Noah brushed by me last week and casually asked how much duct tape it would take to tape him to a tree for 6 hours.
I half listened and said, “I don’t know.”
Then it became suddenly very quiet in this house. I set off to investigate and from my living room window I saw this. I went out and asked them what their purpose was with this. Noah said he wanted to be duct tape to a tree for 6 hours. Like on Duck Dynasty.
I said, “Ok, fine.”
Sam asked if he could go play a video game while Noah was taped to a tree.
I said, “Ok, fine.”
Then I turned to Noah and asked, “You’re okay with this? This? This being duct tape to a tree?”
“Yeah Mom, I want to do this.”
“Okay then. I’ll be inside.”
I came out periodically to check on him, in the spirit of June Cleaver, and each time he was content.
On one of my visits I pulled up a chair and had a serious discussion in regards to trees and people of color and how in some people’s eyes this may appear to be history repeating itself. I talked about Billie Holliday and her song Strange Fruit. I talked about the impact of that song in the 20th century. I talked about what was going on in Ferguson, Missouri. I hate to think I had a captive audience with my history and civics lesson, but I did. And he listened. As he always does about history and unfairness.
I walked away again to change the ink in my printer and left him contemplating life until the super wedgie he didn’t bank on, around 45 minutes into it, and the colony of ants that lived at the base of the tree began investigating the warm object hovering above their nest. He began second guessing his 6 hour goal.
I walked out to check on him right when a neighbor was walking up our driveway. I had a brief second of fear of a visit from CPS until I realized it was Kevin, our 20 something neighbor who spent a good part of the past 10 years being a Barclay in spirit. Another Eddie Haskell to my June Cleaver.
Noah casually glanced over his left shoulder and said, “Hi Kevin.”
Kevin smiled and said, “Good afternoon Mrs. Barclay. Hey Noah, whatcha doing?”
I looked back and forth between their casual conversation and interrupted their friendly greetings by saying, “He’s duct taped to a flippin’ tree Kevin…that’s what he is doing!”
Kevin’s response in a reminiscent tone, “Man, this just reminds me how much I need to hang out at the Barclays.”
June Cleaver. Over and out. I tapped Kevin’s shoulder and said, “Tag your it,” and went inside.
The next time I came out Noah was a mass of cut duct tape and ants at the base of the oak tree and Kevin stood next to him holding a hacksaw. The super wedgie had won. The colony of ants had won.
Kevin had freed him.
And the rest is finishing school history.
Except for the sticky lines of duct tape residue across his arms and legs. Those aren’t going away anytime soon.