I pass this scene every Sunday as I drive to DuPont State Forest to ride my mountain bike, a basketball goal that appears to be growing among the trees and shrubs on an overgrown parcel of land. At this point in my trip I have approximately 45 minutes to think and contemplate about this visual before I arrive at my destination. The possible storylines behind this landscape intrigue and fascinate me. My mind fills with narratives about the why and the how. Some are complicated, others, simple tales, but all become real because of this monument I pass each Sunday left standing to battle both nature and time.
The boys were driving her crazy, in and out of the house slamming the screen door a hundred times a day. This will be a long hot summer, she thought. A summer of short tempers, a house full of flies and a collection of switches to tan some butts with. This was Dad’s problem, it was his idea for her to spend the summer at home with these wild creatures. Her solution was simple, she would go back to the mill and he could stay home. Why should he have the pleasure of eight hours of daily peace. That, in her mind, would be a summer vacation.
When he hit the door at four with his empty lunch pail in hand she jumped his ass. Fix it, solve it, now! With a wink and a smile he had part one of the solution figured out already, a cold beer on the porch swing with his brother Dan. Just one more item to add to the list of all the world’s problems they planned to solve this Friday before dinner.
Dan, ever the analytic thinker boiled the dilemma down to three issues, boys, energy and time. A deadly combination for three youngsters and a mother with a hickory switch in her hand. With a single sip, Dad had a single solution, a trip to the hardware store before five.
The brothers filled the truck with the items of salvation or at least the salvation to save three butts from a broom stick. What they didn’t have they would make, what they couldn’t make they would fake. More than anything else this project would require beer, more beer than they had. They both believed any good solution requires plenty of lubrication.
On a flat grassy plot at the woods edge the younger brother dug a hole. Steadily, a twelve-foot long, galvanized gooseneck post was raised up into the sky and carefully backfilled with two fifty pound bags of concrete and a garden hose. Standing on top of the trucks cab, the two brothers fastened a simple white backboard and rim to the end of the anchored arch. A cotton net, a night to dry and peace would be restored once again to Mom’s household. Yes, lubrication was the key, butts saved or at least until the next home game is rained out.