As a child growing up I lived in three different houses before I moved into the house that my mom and dad lives in now. The first house was in the in the suburbs of Birmingham and the houses were very close together but we had a fairly decent yard to play in. We knew everyone on the street and we played with most of the kids on the block. My brother and I moved in with my grandmother in ’76 to get out of the school system we were in. My grandmother lived in the country where you saw horses and cows and where you can raise chickens and pigs. In the summer of ’78 the whole family moved into the house my mom and dad lives in now which is about two miles from where my grandmother lived.
Moving from the house in the city to the house in the country was a huge transition for me. We had to walk to school in both places but it was a lot further in the county. The thing I liked most living in the country was all the woods that were there to explore. When we lived with my grandmother I would stay gone all day Saturday walking in the woods following this stream that flowed behind her house. Not even thinking of getting bit by a copperhead or any other wild animal that may have lived in those woods.
One Saturday afternoon while in the woods, I must have walked the furthest I’ve ever walked because I came across this small cabin. It wasn’t much of a place and I don’t much believed it was built for anyone to live in it. I would even venture to guess it was built as a play house. What was weird is that this cabin had been built several years earlier, grass and weeds had taken over and moss was growing all over the roof. Plus, this cabin was built in the middle of the woods with no other real houses for miles. Who ever built this cabin must have a hard time getting all the supplies to where the cabin was built.
The cabin had a set of steps that led to the loft. From the loft you could look down into the main room. It even had a small fireplace made from rocks found at the creek bank. In the loft was a lone window, the only window in the cabin. Nothing in the cabin made since to me. The door even an odd shape but it served it’s purpose. The floor was the ground beneath my feet which had a thick layer of fine dust and I could tell that I had been the only visitor in quite some time.
I made my way home later that afternoon and told some of my cousins what I had found. I couldn’t wait until the following Saturday when I could show my new hideaway. The following Saturday, my cousins and I packed our lunch and took off to find the cabin. We found it just as I had left it the week before. That summer we made that place our own. We made a tire swing that went out over the creek. We made an area in the creek deep enough where we could dive in without hitting bottom. We made cots out of tarps. rope and pieces of wood to sleep on. We even made a fire ring to have camp fires and to cook our meals on. When we got through we had made the best place for a bunch of kids to spend the long hot summer. We had a blast that summer.
During that summer, we were the only ones to come and visit that cabin, to our knowledge. Before we left for home, we would set little markers to tell us whether or not someone had been in or around the cabin. As far as we knew, no one else had been at that cabin that summer but us kids.
I couldn’t wait for winter to be over with the following year. It was a spring afternoon after church on Sunday I had spoken to one of my cousins to see if they wanted to go and check on our cabin. The couldn’t wait and neither could I. We met at the trailhead and off we went. It was a little different going in after three months. The trail leading up to the cabin had grown up a little being that we hadn’t been there to wear down the weeds. We got to the site, or where we thought was the site of the cabin and the cabin wasn’t there. The outline of the cabin was there, the dirt floor of the cabin was still evident but no wooden structure. Gone also was our homemade cots, our tire swing and even the fire place. It was almost as if the cabin never existed.
We will never find out what happened to our cabin in the woods. But I will tell you this. That was the best summer that I had ever had as a teen. Hands Down. The cabin may be gone but the memories of the time that we spent at this summer palace can never be taken away from us. In fact, last summer I ran across one of my cousins and we talked about this very cabinet