Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Tower

The Smoky Hills, these hills have been a constant companion in my life. Most days they look smoky and hazy.
Then you get up close to them and they lose their smoky haze.

I grew up near this fire tower, during the spring and fall it was manned by a person called a fire spotter. They were armed with binoculars and a radio, at the first sign of smoke they would call with the location of the fire. During the summer the tower was unmanned. There were three of us, my brother Carey, our neighbor Danny and me. The boys had no problems scampering up the ladder, I on the other hand struggled. When I was just above the tree tops my knees would begin to knock together and my heart would be in my throat. I would end up backing down without reaching the tower platform. The boys would usually go first, on the few occasions that I went first, I would have to dangle from the edge of the ladder to let them pass me, and then I would go down. It was on those occasions that they would call me a chicken and flap their arms and make chicken sounds. True friends.

One fine summer day, they decided that I was going to conquer my fear and I was going to make it to the top. Once I was on the ladder they said that they were not going to allow me to chicken out and if they had to push me up the ladder they would. There was lots of cheering and shouts of "Don't look down." "You are doing great" I made it past the treetops and there was no wind. Maybe I could do it? I scampered to the top, opened the trap door and collapsed on the floor, totally exhausted. The boys were right behind me, they hollered over the treetops "She did it!" Then they wanted me to stand up and look over the edge. I did but only while holding on. Then it hit me, how in the world am I ever going to get back down? I announced "I can't go down, you will have to leave me here." Much discussion followed, they were blaming me for the whoopings that they were going to get. They said I was going to be in "big trouble." Finally after much talking, and their swearing on a stack of Holy Bibles that they would never call me a chicken again, Carey started down, then me, followed by Danny. My knees shook, I cried, they ignored my fearful sobs and counted the downward rungs for me, one at a time. They talked me through it. They avoided a whooping, they never asked me to climb that tower again, but they never called me a chicken anymore either, it was the first and last time I climbed that tower..once was plenty for me:)


  1. Ooooh--I felt the same way climbing the rope in the middle of gym for Phy Ed... Good for you, girl!

  2. We have a vacation planned the end of February. One of the things on our to-do list is to go on one of those zipper rides across the tops of trees. (you know the kind where you zip across the mountain on a cable wire wearing a helmet and harness straps) You will have to wait until March to find out if I can do it. I'm not sure myself....

  3. Good for you!! I was always dared to climb the water tower in our town...and never did! Too scared! I've met my fear of heights head on in other respects since then (zip line rides, rappelling, etc)...but never did climb that tower (and still wouldn't!) :)

  4. Funny, I never had a dislike of heights as a child, it is as a adult that it now bothers me.

    Good for you for facing a fear head on, and conquering it. That is quite an accomplishment.


  5. Well done you. Just like Jen I was never scared of heights as a kid and young adult. However, now - I am terrified!!

  6. Like Muddy Boot Dreams, I had no issues with heights as a child, but now even being in an arena gives me vertigo.

    Good job in trumping your fear (even if it was just once)!

  7. But you did it...and that's what counts.

    Love the photos. My mom was a fire spotter in the mountains where I grew up.

  8. Good for you! I probably could not have done it, but YOU DID! YEAH!


  9. I had no idea just how bad my eyes really are. I still don't see a fire tower!


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