For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… A time to tear down and a time to build up (Eccl. 3:1, 3b NLT).

A is for Allie.

On the day they took it down, our Girl was in her first session of driver’s ed. Interesting timing, given her daddy had it installed shortly after she joined our family just over a dozen years ago.

Oh, the joy she had playing on it!

We’d swing for hours, singing all the songs with gusto, making even the birds above a bit jealous. (Often they joined in!)

In those early years, Allie picnicked with Cousin Ali Beth in the canopy-covering just up a ladder’s climb. I could hear their giggles, sometimes speaking in whispers, sharing secrets as only wee girls can do. (Then, more giggles.)

One summer, Daddy had the bright idea to place the wading pool at the base of the playset’s slide. Down she’d go, with a “Wheeeeeee…”, then splash into water warmed by the sun… Again and again and…


(Remember the time she wore her cowgirl boots? It took an eternity for them to fully dry.)

The years went by, and Allie played on it less often. Still, many visited Selah Farm–

Hung from its monkey bars.

Climbed the rock wall.

Slid down its slide.

Children too many to count, though their smiles and laughter linger in my mind. Funny how, over time, something so weather-beaten, somewhat broken, and not physically beautiful can still…

Hold a deep-seated sort of beauty. Such is the case with it.

Somewhere down through time, lichen took over. Parts fell off. Hardware had to be replaced. There were new little girls to keep safe, after all.

Little Lila and wee Emory Wren.

Just like Auntie Allie for whom it was erected, they, too, loved to play–




So, when their Papaw mentioned perhaps it was time to replace it with a new one, I sort of paused–took a good, hard look at the one that held so much meaning. Memories came flooding back, of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” on a hot summer’s day, Allie hooked in just so, facing me as we swung.

“Higher, higher,” she’d exclaim, my legs growing tired from all that pumping.

“Up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear…” we’d sing in unison, though hers was more–

“Up to da ata-sphere, up where da air is ear…”

Oh, those days–only but a blink away.

Yesterday, while Allie was learning about using her turn signal and yielding and watching for pedestrian right-of-way signs, two men–complete strangers, in fact–came to disassemble that which had become a part of our family.

For hours they worked, taking down piece by piece until, finally… the spot where it stood in our backyard was bare. After a break to drink some water, get a bite of lunch, the pair resumed their job.

The next part?

To replace it with the new one, a playset to last for the next dozen years and beyond. For our grand-girls, with one more on the way. As we sat outside watching the men finish the task, that which had taken a good part of their day, one in our family commented,

“Wow. Look at that. Kind of makes you wonder why we waited so long.”

(The new one, by comparison, did indeed look bold and bright.)

Still, in its own way, the old one–by then in pieces parts to be discarded at the dump–was, in my opinion, the most beautiful. After all, it held the memories in its nooks and crannies… The moments in its creaky places… Yes, all the joys of years gone by, weathered into its weary wood frame.

Because we know…

Beauty can be found in brokenness, though safety’s now of our utmost concern.

As those strangers pulled away, a little Lila and Emory Wren waved goodbye, yelling, “Thank you, mens. Thank you for our playset.” And they climbed up a virgin ladder to slide down a virgin slide, exclaiming “Wheeeeee!” at the top of their lungs, and a single Highland cow answered, “Moooo…” from the pasture just beyond. (Made the girls giggle.)

“Maybe this summer, we’ll put your wading pool at the foot of the slide, and you can splash right into it,” I said. “I remember when Auntie Allie did that a long time ago. It was Papaw’s idea, and it was perfect!”

With hands clasped in front of her, Lila replied, “Yes. Let’s.”

And we will–Making new memories… Treasuring up more moments in our minds. All because…

A is for Allie.

Kind Father, thank you for memories. Thank you for each day’s opportunity to make more. Thank you for life, love, and laughter. Yes, thank you for it all! Amen.