Friday, April 16, 2010

How Dreams are Built

My playhouse needs paint and I plan to be sure it is painted this season. Why do I claim this house in the old GriggsDakota farmyard as my own? Because Dad and Grandpa built it for me (under direction from Mom) and gave it to me for my seventh birthday. It is a favorite childhood memory. 
After school on that day in October, I was allowed to bring friends home for a party. That was a rare treat for a farm girl. Friends couldn't just walk over and stop by when your house is miles, rather than blocks away. When dad told me to come out to the steel quonset with him, I didn't want to go. When he got me out there, Grandpa was waiting, excited for the moment. I had no idea what this plywood thing was. Unfinished and dimly lit, in a dirt floored machine shed, I couldn't dream this into something for me. They had to tell me what it was. Once I understood, I couldn't believe it and walked through the doorless arch and onto the plywood floor. It was later placed on the site in the photo above, where it has remained for decades. I spent many happy hours in that playhouse dreaming and pretending. My friends, brothers, sister and cousins played there too. It served as a happy home, Army fort, hospital, outlaw's hideout, restaurant, and nearly any other structure you can imagine. Even a pirate ship in the spring when the water was high in the lake.
No one has ever loved this playhouse more than Kirsti. She made it beautiful and real in a way that no one else ever had. She convinced her Grandma to help her paint and make curtains. She carefully collected cast off objects and arranged beautiful scenes. She has a knack for putting ordinary things together and making them beautiful. Now, as she prepares to marry and set up her own home, this practice has made her good at it.
She has exchanged this kitchen, well stocked in fantasy, for a real kitchen. Kirsti makes meals that include homemade rolls and cheesecake. Her grandparents could not possibly have known the dreams this small structure would build, but they took the time to build the playhouse. The dreams belong to each child who discovered it.
And as we step into the future, I want to be sure that I take the time to allow the dreams to continue.

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