An Unusually Fine Feathered Friend

By Bryan Hancock

Near 1st Street in Idaho Falls, an offshoot canal from the Idaho Canal runs along the south edge of Falls Valley and continues onto Hidden Village, and then to Sand Creek. In 1964, when I was ten years old, a row of cottonwood trees seventy-five to a hundred feet tall grew along the banks of the canal. There also was a trail along the bank that we neighborhood kids figured only we knew about. In this area, my brother Darrell and I built three or four tree houses over the years.

Back then, Falls Valley was a suburb at the city outskirts, surrounded by farms and a rich bounty of wild animals. Pheasants, deer, great horned owls, prairie dogs, and magpies abounded. My family moved there in 1964 year from Rigby. My dad, Clem Hancock, taught music at Bonneville High School and Adell, my mom, worked part-time as a secretary at a local car dealership.

Darrell, who was nine that year,  and I scoured the construction sites at the west end of Davidson Drive close to Frog Pond for materials to build tree houses. We asked permission to take unwanted lumber from the trash pile that the construction workers pointed out to us. We extracted nails from the used lumber and gathered waste nails, many of them bent, that lay around the site. On a flat surface such as a cinder block we’d pound the nails straight again. We did this on Saturdays, so as not to get in the way of the builders. Darrell and I found it thrilling to bring new materials to the canal bank near the service station and continue work on our tree house.

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Bryan Hancock

About Bryan Hancock

Bryan Hancock was born in Rexburg in 1953. His family of six moved to Idaho Falls in 1958, where Bryan’s dad taught band at Bonneville High School and Bryan played drums. He moved to rural Iowa in 1984, but returns to Idaho, where family still lives, and magpies still abound.

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