It wasn’t the safest place, or the warmest, or the one that stirred the most memories. Those were all spoken for.

But, nonetheless, it was my place.

I sat in the gazebo swing, watching tiny clouds of rust thrown up as the long-still chains moved–as silently as when they were new and freshly oiled. The early autumn sun came in streamers through the trees above and the gaps in the old wooden roof, illuminating a ballet of dust motes that swirled around me.

As a youngster, I’d never been able to understand Dad’s fascination with the gazebo–the long summer afternoons he spent building it, painting it, lovingly planting the trees that now dwarfed it. It had been many things for me growing up: a rocket ship, a fortress, a pirate schooner. But never just a gazebo in the furthest corner of our yard.

It wasn’t until he was gone that I got a better sense of the place. When the time came to clean out his things, Mom had let me do it–too many memories, she said–and I’d found a picture of Dad with his parents. He couldn’t have been more than four or five, and they were posing together on an old gazebo, the very twin of the one I now sat in.

They’d had to sell that house when things had gotten rough after the war, but Dad had seen to it that I had the chance for the same lazy summer memories that he did.