The Three Marks of Four

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As I look back at my childhood, I see many colorful memories; my friends and I playing game after game of pickle, watching movies with relatives, and celebrating birthday\'s with both family and friends. These all stick out in my mind but none of them compete with my most striking memory, of building a fort. This fort wasn\'t just any fort, it was my fort. My fort that started as a hole in the ground and eventually grew to become a fort suitable to fit between eight and ten people in. This fort housed both good times, bad times, and a lesson I would never forget.
One of the best times was when my father helped us build the fort. He took my brother and I to the forest up the road from where we lived. I remember searching, for what seemed to be hours, to find the perfect place. We went up hills and down hills. The entire time we slipped on mud and tripped over branches, not stopping once. Then, we saw it, the perfect spot. It had four trees at its corners with a trench dug beneath it. For the next few hours we spent digging the trench. We made the dimensions wider and deeper so it could have seats and other suitable features. We put bright blue and neon orange tarps down to prevent the mud from reaching our clothes. By this time, the sky was painted with crimson, violet, and bright yellow. This magnificent airborne
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creation signaled us to go home and come back tomorrow, to finish the work we had begun.
Late, the next day, we came back to our fort and added a roof. We made it by placing long branches on the four corner posts and on top of the long branches we put twigs and moss. Together they created a rain proof layer that would last a long time. The final step was definitely the most memorable for me.
It was the naming of the fort. My dad carved four vertical lines on the Southwest corner post and 3 horizontal lines on top of the four vertical ones. My dad explained to my brother and I that this was our families fort. The three marks of four represented the three people of our family that built the fort out of the four people in our family. By this time, we again saw the painted sunset which signaled us to leave the fort and return home. The next day, my brother and I ventured out alone to find the fort and add some things to its luxurious interior. When we eventually found it, it was totally demolished; the roof was caved in, the tarps stolen, and the three marks of four ruined for what I thought was going to be forever.
This, however, I found to be totally wrong three years later, when my friends thought they found something that looked like an old fort. My first reaction was one of curiosity. I remeber asking, "Could it be?". I followed my friends to go see what they were talking about. They took me a totally different path but I could sense that we were headed in the right direction. With every

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step I could feel the suspense building. Low and behold, it was the three marks of four. I could tell immediately that it was the old fort because of its mark my
dad had carved into one of the trees. With this new discovery, I wasted no time. My brother and friends soon helped me out in fixing up the old fort. This time we added a fireplace and an intricate protection system.
This protection system was made solely from wire and wooden spikes. One of the divices, I remember to be particularly hazardous. It had metal nails poking up from a hole in the ground with a thin layer of moss over it. One of the days we were working on fixing parts of the fort and a kid stepped on it. Immediatly he went to the hospital for a tetnis shot. We figured that to be the perfect edition to the protection system. I didn\'t