Tuesday, May 30, 2006

We Could Have Died!

After posting the story below (Memorial Day 2006), it suddenly occurred to me that we could have died!

What if one of us had fallen off?

What if the sled had run up underneath the pickup? We didn't have any brakes!

What if the rope had broken?

What if a car had come up from behind, and not seen us?

Of course, none of this occurred to us at the time. We were too busy having fun! These are thoughts I have now, as a mother and grandmother.

Back then, we played with metal lawn darts that were really sharp. We didn't have seat belts. We played outside all day, and nobody checked up on us or worried that we would run away, or be kidnapped.

We could have died!

We climbed fences. We played with stray cats. We picked up baby birds off the ground and tried to feed them bugs and worms. We had china toy dishes, not plastic. We cut paper with pointy scissors, and had a toy iron that actually got hot, and an Easy-bake oven with a light bulb that got hot enough to bake tiny little cakes.

We could have burned the house down!

When we got a spanking, it was with a peach tree limb, and we had to go pick the switch and bring it back for the spanking.

We could have had our self-esteem damaged!

We didn't have sidewalks, or organized sports, or play dates.

Nobody taught us socialization!

We brought stray dogs home and kept them, unless a neighbor came looking for them.

We could have died!!

Amazing, isn't it, that none of us are warped, sociopathic, infected with ringworm or rabies, antisocial, or ax murderers. As far as I know, anyway.

What a great childhood!

Memorial Day 2006

My brother and his family came to the lake for the weekend, and we spent a lot of time remembering. Our Daddy was a World War II veteran, with his share of problems after those experiences. He lied about his age, went into the National Guard at age 15, and when the unit was called up, he and his three older brothers went together.

There are many memories we would perhaps rather not think about, but many that still warm our hearts. One of my favorites is the year it snowed.

Really snowed.

In this part of Texas we don't usually get a lot of snow. And since we don't get snow often, we don't have much equipment for icy roads and snow accumulation. No winter boots, no ski pants or jackets, no sleds. So when it snowed, we were not really equipped for it. Daddy, being a carpenter, decided to build a sled.

It wasn't the kind you see in pictures, with steel runners, like a Flexible Flyer. It was made of wood. And since we had only one hill, which dead-ended into a rather busy street, we started out pushing each other along the icy street in front of our house. The wooden sled was heavy, and with the added weight of the kids, we struggled to make much headway.

Daddy came to the rescue again. He used a long rope to tie the sled to the bumper of his pickup, and loaded us onto the sled. He then put the pickup in gear, and without accelerating he generated enough speed to make us feel as if we were flying.

The only boots we had were rainboots, and Mama put two pairs of socks on us to help keep our feet warm. We didn't have wet-proof mittens either, so she put bread wrappers over our gloves to keep them dry. Daddy pulled up us and down the road all afternoon. We couldn't have been more excited if Santa's reindeer had been pulling our sled.

We felt like the luckiest kids in Texas that snowy day. A wooden sled, a yellow pickup truck, and a daddy who made wishes come true--kind of a strange memory, for a hot summer day on the lake, but then again, on a hot afternoon, remembering that sled, and making snow ice cream, felt pretty good.