Turns out, we could have saved the $500 and took the kids to the woods instead. My only consolation is that the Wii is still here, and for each time we've played the Wii, if I had had to purchase the gas to get us to the woods, we are still money ahead.
But, continuing with my original train of thought (how do those trains get de-railed so easily?), the kids needed no electronic stimulation to have a fabulous time while we camped and berry-picked in the woods this past weekend. Their imaginations had them playing "Survivor Man", building forts, and making up new games. Our favorite new game is one the kids dubbed Tree Flinging.
It all started with cousin Thomas studying some of the trees near our camp. He's walking around, shaking them, testing both their strength and flexibility. Pretty soon, he can be heard muttering - wouldn't it be fun to bend this all the way down, and sort of catapult out of the top? I am picturing a version of Looney Tunes cartoon gone bad - Wile E. Coyote flying through the air, and into the face of a granite wall. Thankfully, there were no granite walls (just sharp stumps and prickly berry bushes), so the kids were left to their adventurous devices.
The teenagers were actually trying to bring some measure of safety into the equation - only letting the little guys "fling" on the shorter/thinner trees, and saving the big tree for the bigger kids. This worked for about all of 2 minutes, and Chance was ready to "fly" on the big tree. By this time, Matt cannot keep himself away from the fun, and is down there in the thick of the kids. So, amongst encouraging cries of "Matt! Matt! Matt!", he "tests the safety" of the process before letting Chance have a go. Here are his results:
Please note Matt's position on the tree (about halfway up). This will be important later, as we witness where he placed his 8-year-old, 70 pound boy on the same tree. Do you think 70 pounds flies a little different than 200 pounds? Check for yourself - here is Chance, taking his turn . . .
And dad helping him down (his heart was beating so hard, I'm not sure he could hold on to climb down) . . .
Unfortunately, I don't think the tree will ever be the same - it used to reach straight up, vertical toward the heavens. Now, it's just a little off kilter - hopefully God will still bless it, just the same. It provided us with so much entertainment, this valiant tree . . .