The day had begun as a nice celebration of Grandma’s 90th birthday. Then, a couple of my aunts started screaming to each other about the 2016 presidential election. It might be 2019, but that mere detail would never stop my aunts from arguing about Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.
It was now late afternoon. I shivered as the damp Washington state cold cut through my sweatshirt. Still, it was more comfortable being out here than in the overly warm living room, listening to my aunts shriek at each other.
I wandered through the yard, and past the back fence into the woods. How many hours had I spent back here when growing up? I wondered. It had been my go-to place when escaping from family when I was growing up.
I finally reached a small, ramshackle shed. I have no idea why it was first built, but when Jeff and I started a club the summer we were 12, this shed made a handy clubhouse.
I went inside. Everything had a film of dust and dirt. The roof apparently leaked now. The wobbly old card table we had sat at during our meetings now had rusty legs. Pictures clipped from a magazine we'd put on the walls were now faded and brittle.
But one important thing hadn't changed at all. There was a feeling of peace out here. This place was still a good way to escape some of the crazier members of my family.
“Great minds think alike, although that doesn’t explain why you also came here!” came Jeff’s voice from the doorway. I turned and glared at him. He grinned, and stepped in. He looked around a moment. “It looks like this place hasn’t been used for anything since our last club meeting thirty years ago.”
“Probably not.” I picked up a rusty tea tin that had been used for our club savings. I rattled it. It was empty. “Someone seems to have stolen our club treasury, though.”
“Big deal. There wouldn’t have been enough for even a gumball machine.” Jeff glanced at his watch. “Dinner should be on soon. We’d probably better get back.”
Dinner sounded good. Another thing that hadn’t changed: we always made sure we got back to Grandma’s in time for dinner.
We headed out of the clubhouse. I carefully closed the door, and we started walking back to Grandma’s house.