Jessica J. Ingram
Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I have had some very unique experiences with my older brothers. From climbing trees, hunting, creek style fishing, rowdy hay jumping, to unconventional horseback riding, and running into and away from a slew of forest animals. But none of these experiences can top the time my brother Wayne talked me into losing my two front teeth.
Nestled into the side of a mountain, we grew up in one of the best environments I could imagine. Surrounded by trees of all kinds, apple, peach, and my all time favorite pine, our imaginations were stretched to the limit and beyond playing in our own piece of paradise. My Granddaddy had always told me that playing with the boys can get me into all kinds of trouble. At the time, I did not heed the warning and kept on doing everything and anything the boys could do regardless of the scrapes and bumps that I had accumulated from doing so. Now in the front yard of my grandparents home is the largest pine tree I have ever seen. It sits beside my granddaddies work shed, and usually climbing to the top was off limits due to the massive size of this behemoth. Standing roughly around 25 feet, it provided the best shade in the summer, and the lower branches were sturdy enough to allow us swing onto the top of the wood shed unscathed, but full of adrenaline. How we loved to swing from the branches of this particular pine tree, me especially, being the smaller of my male counterparts in stature, however more robust in my girth, I could get a good momentum going, allowing me to swing farther and faster than my brothers, securing my spot in the daredevil hall of fame aka Granddaddies Whooping list.
Around this time, the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had made its way to our humble town of Cullowhee, being in a large family that included eight older brothers, we had our fill of ninja...