Having three brothers meant at one time or another we would most likely be at war with each other. Our biggest battles were always fought at “The Fort”.
My older brother Steven convinced my dad as a matter of National Security he needed to build a fort. The sight Steven chose was located in our huge back yard, which up to that point wasn’t being used for anything except growing some of the tallest and most beautiful weeds in all of Kaysville.
Steven began his military operation by calling on his troops. The neighborhood kids would volunteer as soldiers. The roster of inductees went somewhat as follows: General and Chief Commanding Officer, Steven J. Murdock, Enlisted men: Kenny Hansen, Lynn Blood, Robin Webb, Gordon Cottrell and Russell Moore.
Plans for “The Fort” soon began. Trails were mapped out. Trenches were dug. The main part was excavated deep enough to crawl in and sit down. Boards were placed over the top and dirt was piled on top of the boards. A hatch was made so the troops could climb in and out easily.
Dad went to the old Smith and Edwards Surplus store to buy gear for the military operation. He purchased helmets, nap sacks, canteens, mess kits, and most importantly rifles. The rifles were actually old wooden gun stocks with no real killing power.
After “The Fort” was completed, it was time to wage war on the enemy. Girls and little brothers were Enemy Number One, with German’s and Japanese next in line. Whenever Vicky Lynn and I tried to approach “The Fort” we were bombarded with grenades. (dirt clods). When the grenades failed to stop us, the sound of bullets from the wooden rifle stocks would whiz past our heads. My little brothers enjoyed being shot at, and played numerous academy award winning death scenes
It wasn’t long before Steven joined the ranks known as teenagers. He and his buddies were about to embark on an entirely new battlefront. Waging the war on “pimples”. They turned their old army gear in for Clearasil, Rock and Roll music, Friday night movies, Transistor radios and girls.
It didn’t take long for us little kids to take over “The Fort”, New officers were elected. Brent was now Commander in Chief. Vicky Lynn and I were allowed to be Army nurses. Other soldiers included Ronnie Crouch, George A. Bremer, Dean and Dana Hales,Corey Bailey and our baby brother Alan. We added on, we hollowed out spaces and brought in candles. We found old hollow weeds, took them underground in “The Fort” and “smoked” them.(guessing my parents didn’t know we played with matches) We built booby traps on the trail. I once fell in and twisted my ankle. I blamed Brent and much to my delight he got in trouble.
We all gathered down in “The Fort” sometimes just to talk and make plans, draw maps, and come up with new strategies. We opened up to one another, told our deepest, darkest secrets and dreams about our lives and our futures. There were many great conversations held within those old dirt walls.
Years went by, the weeds began to grow tall again around “The Fort”. All that remained was a large hole in the ground and a few boards scattered about. Dad yelled at us for years to fill in the hole. We never listened to him of course. I don’t think it was because we wanted to make him angry or defy him in any way, I think it just hurt too much to admit we had outgrown “The Fort”. After all this was a place where many battles were fought and won not only with the enemy, but within ourselves.