Well, I spent some summer days in a tree house at my grandfather’s ranch. The tree was the only tree in the pasture, so when the other kids made a house there (really just a platform about 10 feet off the ground), I’m the sure the parents were okay with it, because it was clearly visible from the house.
The tree had a rope swing, in addition to the platform that you could climb up to. I think there were steps nailed to the trunk, but I could be confusing it with a different tree house. The leaves mostly hid us (my siblings and I) from view. Not that we were doing anything sneaky – we weren’t. We didn’t sneak off to the tree to smoke or drink stolen alcohol or make out with neighbor kids. At least I didn’t. If my brothers and cousins did that, I wasn’t around. Being the youngest, I usually tagged along (having no one else to play with). So that may have caused my elder relations to be discrete. Sometimes we’d ride the horses to the tree house and go from horseback to tree and back, eschewing the ground.
When the valley flooded, as it did back then almost every summer, we’d go plan in the ditch between the house and the pasture. The ditch had a concrete area, put there to keep the road from washing out. That created a bit of a cascade (maybe four feet), which was perfect for youngsters to play in. So, we’d play in the muddy water and walk through the puddles and climb the tree house and swing down on the swing and generally had a good time.
I wish I could do that today.