by Bonnie Childs
(Jefferson City, Missouri)
One of my greatest memories of my childhood was when I was about 9 years old... My best friend was Toney. We lived on Miller Street in 2 apartment buildings owned by Mr. and Mrs. Brown. I lived above the Browns and Toney lived in the top apartment of the 2nd building.
The Browns were elderly people, in fact we called him "Old man Brown". He had a old fat dog named "Girlie". Mr. Brown was kind of the neighborhood watch for all of the kids whose parents went to work and left us at home. He would sit on his porch and watch, listen to us and as soon as my mom got home he would tell her what he thought was necessary for her to know about my day. Sometimes I would get in trouble and sometimes not. They never had children so he considered all of us as his children.
In front of Mr. Brown's house was a large green apple tree. It was so tall that the branches hung very close to our living room window. All you had to do was climb out on the roof over his porch and voilà, we had apples.
That being said, one summer evening Toney and I was bored and we decided to get some apples. The problem was that "ole man Brown" wouldn't let us have any of his apples. but we fixed him. I was going to go in my apartment and climb out on the roof and Toney was gonna climb up the tree and toss the apples to me, and I would put them in a bag. Easy plan? Huh? well no not really...
After a little while, while Toney was tossing me the apples, the front door of Mr. Brown's apartment opened, and he and "Girlie" came outside. Mr. Brown got his porch chair and placed it right under the tree and sat and talked to the dog.
I looked at Toney who had the look of a deer caught in headlights. I had to laugh cause he was so scared, he had to go pee, but he didn't move. After about 30 minutes, or so Mr.Brown got up and took his chair to the porch and told Girlie "Come on Girlie, lets go in so Toney can come down from that tree". With that he went inside, I went inside and Toney jumped out of the tree and went home.
For a long time I would look at Mr. Brown and he would smile or wink at us but he never told our parents of the night Toney was up in The Apple Tree...