Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Remembering the good old days

I was reminded yesterday of all the things we did growing up that I would NEVER allow my own children to do. Like walk a quarter of a mile through knee deep snow to chop a hole with a hatchet in the pond ice so the 3 or 4 cows we had could drink. When my brother and I were 10 and 7. Or walking through the bean field across the road from our house to the dump that was at the back. And digging through said trash to find "treasures". Or walking or biking up to the highway(about 1.5 miles) with a dollar in our hands to go to the little country store to get a coke, a candy bar, some chips, a few pieces of bubble gum, and if Old Lady Warren was there, maybe a couple of extra pieces of hard candy.

Of course, we had plenty of chores to do first before we could wander off for the day. Usually in the summer, it was picking garden. Then feeding everyone (cows, pigs, chickens, an occasional horse). Then snapping beans. I hated snapping beans. Then my older brother generally was excused for a while until evening chores. I on the other had, got the joy of helping my mom can everything. I really hated that, especially since my brother got to take off and I had to stay. But if I complained long enough, Mom would let me go just to get me out of her hair.

We pretty much had run of about 3 mile area. A mile and a half in any direction. And all we had to do was tell roughly where we were going and to be back by dark or dinner, whichever was first.

We spent a lot of time in the gullywash back behind our place. The neighbors behind us had these pine woods and there was this huge, I will say about 15-20 foot deep, gully that ran through almost the whole thing. We would take a broken down cardboard box with us and "ride" down the pine needle covered gully walls on the box. We did have to keep a sharp eye out for briars, but we had great fun. Those pine needles made for a smooth ride and since there was always a decent sized pile of them at the bottom, a fairly soft landing too. That gully was the scene of many pirate attacks, Indian raids, war battles, and games of Hide and Seek.

And none of these adventures ever had adult supervision. Ever. We would sometimes come home bruised and bloodied, from getting caught in the briars, or completely covered in mud or dust. Mom would tell us to wash off outside before we came in(we had a handy waterhose by the back door and a concrete porch to stand on while we did it). If our cuts were too bad, we would put peroxide or mecurichrome on them and go on about our business.

Only once did I ever get seriously injured. My dad had brought home this huge pile of broken down pallets to use as kindling in the fireplace. And they still had nails in them. That pile of rough broken planks was perfect for climbing on. Until the day one of them shifted under my bare foot and I slid into a nail and got a nice, rather deep, cut on the top of my foot by my pinkie toe. 3 stitches. And mom was LIVID! She wouldn't let up play on that pile any more. We were heartbroken. So we just climbed trees and jumped off into the tangle of honeysuckle vines and pretended to be Tarzan instead.

Wow, we really don't let our kids have any fun these days.

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