Ralph had always been a friend. Fifty years before Jack had been born one of the new families built a house on the Next Street, the second street from Main Street, after living and growing old the couple who had built the house died leaving the house to their off-spring. Their off-spring chose not to live in The Village, which put a house on Next Street up for sale, something that rarely happened. One of the very new families purchased the home, moved in, and among other things produced a baby boy and named him Ralph after his grandfather.
When Jack was three years old he stood in his back yard facing the back fence. A six-foot high wall of red wood planks stood between Jack and the rest of the world. A foot and a half above the ground a two inch by four inch by six foot piece of wood ran parallel to the ground, another two by four ran parallel at four foot off the ground and a final length of wood ran parallel to the ground five and one half feet off the ground. Cemented into the ground every six feet stood a four by four post. Each of the two by fours butted into the posts and were nailed securely. This lumber provided a strong surface for the planks of the fence to be attached to but they also provided a chance for a small boy to see more of his world. Three-year-old Jack tried to pull himself onto the lowest of the two by fours by pulling with his hands on a four by four post and swinging his leg to the two by four but even when the toe of his tennis shoe reached the wooden step he could not pull himself up. Jack pulled his red wagon to the fence and climbed from the wagon to the first two by four he stood holding the second two by four and looking at fence plank an inch from his face. He stood like this for a minute getting his breath and adjusting to the height. His head was above the third two by four but still below the top of the fence. Jack reached upward toward the top edge of the fence plank and was able to curl his little fingers around the top edge of the three quarter inch thick fence plank. He pulled his self up and felt the rough edge of the plank dig into his hands as his feet left the two by four ledge. He dangled in the air as he pulled harder and climbed at the flat fence planks with his tennis shoed feet. Just before his fingers could hold no longer his feet found the second two by four and he was able to stand. His eyes and then his head and shoulders moved above the top edge of the fence and he could look, for the first time, into his neighbor’s yard. Jack stared at a three-year-old boy who had been watching the fence from the other side wondering what all the noise was about. Ralph stared back at a boy’s head standing seven feet tall.
Jack said, “hi, my name is Jack.”
“Hi, Jack,” Ralph said with his eyes wide, “are you a giant?”
“I’m standing on a board,” answered Jack.
“Oh,” said Ralph, a little disappointed.
And from that day on they were best friends. Before they were four years old there was a gate leading from one back yard to the other and their parents went back and forth between yards as often as the boys did.