Thursday, July 14, 2011
An old schoolhouse
What one can do with a couple bathtubs and a vivid imagination
A very large millipede
The thoughts on the rope swing in the yard made him miss the kids. Grass barely grew in the back yard from all the activity. He had a big garden that seemed like work to him now but it was relaxing back then. He watched dolls get married, baseball games and antics performed on the rope swing while he tended his garden. After a hard day on the railroad, this was a fun way to unwind. On the back of his yard were two horseshoe pits that brought a friend or two over for a challenge. Sometimes a cold drink came out with a smiling child carrying it, knowing their father would praise them well. He stopped for a moment, he got short of breath sometimes walking. A large heron flew down the stream from him, and took over fishing. He wished him well and hoped it left his stringer of fish alone while still in the water where he had left it. He thought he could almost hear voices ahead of him and walked further upstream.
Once taking his oldest girl along he put her in charge of the stringer, her attention to fishing was not very good then. She was amazed when he caught another fish and added to their treasures. She played with his worms always, but never wanted to put one on. Perhaps it was a Worm Circus she had, he never could remember. One time a few had names and were released so as not to end in a fish’s belly. He watched her when she went down to the stringer, hoping she stayed back enough from the rivers bank. She pulled them out a few times and watched them swim in amazement. He had caught a large walleye and called her over to help him bring it in. He handed her the pole and she carefully reeled in this splendid fish. He netted it when she told him and they carried it over to his stringer. He looked and it wasn’t there, they swam away from her when she was playing with them, stringer and all. It was funnier later after telling the story a few times, but tense trying to stay cool on the way home.
There seemed to be a lot of the kids who wanted to go fishing with him at a certain time. As long as they caught some the fun was there. He often called that his no-fish day since most of his time was spent helping them out. Through the years each enjoyed it even more and became able to do most of everything except cleaning them. He had a class once and a few gave him a hand, and when they got a lot his wife even joined in. One Father’s Day outing he filleted fish for three hours with his wife and kids helping. They were so tired and ended up putting a third of the fish out in a trench with the trimmings to make their garden grow.
He noticed a small bobber in the weeds while he was walking and wondered who had snapped their line snagging up in the grass. He rarely used them and would have noticed if he had. He picked it up wondering if it was a treasure to someone, he hated losing his tackle and equipment. Often when the kids kept snagging up, he asked if they were going to catch fish or rocks, the fish were better to eat. He put the bobber in his pocket, just in case he found the owner. Looking ahead he wondered how far he was from the old swing area, he didn’t remember being this close to the house. He walked up into the yard and laughed how big it seemed as kids. The first climb unto a side porch roof was a daring escapade. Jumping off was even a bigger feat. Neither kids wanted to tell the other it hurt a little and he performed it a few more times that summer. Generous helpings of memories flowed across the prairie grasses, on a gentle breeze.
The one that got away
Grew larger each time
That wonderful tale
Was told over and over.