Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy Birthday to Becky and Shawn

Happy Birthday to you both. Becky may you be happy with what the year has in store.
Shawn, enjoy being a new daddy and taking care of the ever increasing herd at Admiral

At this time I also wish Elizabeth an enjoyable trip to Hawaii to the writers' workshop.
Like I keep saying, I think you should write a book about your life experiences.

Love, dk and rk


Kuoppala and Inlaws said...

Ditto on the birthday greetings.

Here's an excerpt about the creek that you might all enjoy:

Elbow Creek cut through the back yard of my childhood home. It was far enough back that not a single one of us ever got a shoe to land in the water from the swing which sat smack dab in the middle of the yard. The shoes in our games of Kick-The-Shoe flew from the highest arc on the swings to land on the sauna roof, in the bee bush, half-way down the hill to the creek, but never in the water. Although too far away to catch a shoe, the creek was plenty close for Mom to keep an eye on us from the kitchen window. The water was 3 feet deep behind the house and 8 feet wide; we’d weeded a stretch of about 16 feet long to have sandy soil for our swimming area. Both up and down stream, the weeds made it far too gross to recreate except by canoe. Our stretch of swimming area was plenty big to practice the jellyfish float and doggy paddling lessons passed down from older siblings. We leg-wrestled while doing handstands under water; we competed with the current to catch beech balls before they drifted into the mucky area downstream; we dove for colored marbles; we lured our pet geese in to swim with us.
On summer days when it wasn’t 70 degrees out – a prerequisite for swimming – we’d float cardboard boats, check and re-check Dad’s minnow traps, and skip stones over the water. As we got older cardboard boats became wood rafts with plastic milk jugs strapped on as flotation devices. Friendly competition was a regular part of summer, and one raft was never enough; another team strived to build a raft that would float longer or carry more cargo or ferry more passengers. Other days our entrepreneurial spirits had us digging around rocks to catch crawfish and leeches to sell. As they grew older, my business-minded brothers were transformed into trappers, catching and skinning muskrats from the creek for the $1.50 each fur brought in.
The creek brought wildlife into the yard and into our lives. We screeched at bloodsuckers hoping they’d fall off, before dousing them in salt and gleefully watching them shrivel and die. We marveled at dragonflies and water bugs. We tried to catch minnows in our bare hands. If we promised to be real quiet and sit still, Dad would take groups of us at a time to watch the beavers at work way down stream, a half mile into the woods. We watched ducks land in our swimming area and giggled in the spring at obedient ducklings parading behind their mother.


Most of our summer adventures were connected somehow to the creek. Mom and Dad let us romp around the 40 acre woods unsupervised when we were very young because we knew that if we got lost and walked in a straight line in any direction, we’d come to Highway 7 or County Road 16 or our own Keenan Road and we could follow the roads home or stop to use a phone. On the fourth side of the property we’d find the creek and we could follow that upstream.

The bigger challenge they told us was that walking in a straight line isn’t easy when you’re lost. We showed them – we could walk even with our eyes closed straight down the sidewalk.

“It’s harder in the woods. Just remember to watch the moss on the side of the trees or watch the sun if you can find it,” Dad’s lectures fell on semi-deaf ears. Until we were lost in the woods.

“Isa said something about the moss…?”

“He said not to eat it no matter how hungry we get.”

“No, that was mushrooms. We can’t eat mushrooms.”

“Well, what was it about the moss?”

“I think he said it’d make a soft bed if we have to sleep out here.”

“I ain’t sleeping out here!”

“The creek. We have to find the creek.”

“Don’t walk in circles.”

We set off walking in circles.

“Um, didn’t we see this deer stand a couple hours ago?”

“Okay. The sun is going down. If we walk towards it, we’ll find the creek.”

“But you keep leading us in circles.”

“This time, let’s spread out. I’ll stay here, you guys go on ahead, and just when I almost can’t see you anymore, have somebody stop there. And then go more until you’re almost out of sight, and leave somebody there. We’ll make a long chain to the creek. Then holler back down the line and I’ll move ahead.” Charlie was in full control of the situation.

We found the creek and followed it home.

Kuoppala and Inlaws said...

Happy Birthday Becky and Shawn!

Elizabeth, that's awesome! Have fun in Hawaii!

Kuoppala and Inlaws said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes! And, Liz, thanks for sharing the excerpt. Enjoy your writing adventure in Hawaii. I look forward to more excerpts!

Shawn, I hope you are delighting in simple pleasures, as I am, on our shared birthday.

Kuoppala and Inlaws said...

Happy Birthday Becky. Sorry, I don't get on the computer very often.
Shawn says thanks for the birthday wishes.
Heather and Shawn