Friday, February 20, 2009

more storytime

I apologize for being absent for so very long. Life is demanding sometimes. Here is another story from my childhood. Some of you may have read it at one time as i had once posted it on a certain social networking site I no longer feel comfortable posting such information to. Tomorrow is a day off from the job, but we do have some things to accomplish around the house. Cooperation and doing things around the house work wonders for relationships, but are not so friendly in respects to blogging. Hopefully I can snag some time to post pics of the crafty wonderfulness that came in the mail from my sister earlier this week. Two (!) big flat rate boxes. Dez, you spoil me.

Childhood summers in my family were predominantly spent at the lake (which is actually a dammed up part of the AuSable River) with Grandma and Grandpa Kinder. They had a little travel trailer that sat on a waterfront lot they rented year round. We would take turns as to who would get to live t the trailer with Grandma and Grandpa; us girls would go for a week or two and then when it was time for us to go back home for a while it was usually the boys' turn to spend time at the lake.

There was always lots of fishing during these summers. Mostly it was with Grandma because Grandpa claimed we were too loud to catch fish, but we usually caught more with Grandma than he ever did with or without us along (which kind of annoyed him). There was also a lot of watching bears walk along the big island way across the way, roasting marshmallows over a small campfire whenever Grandpa would allow us to have fire, chasing and catching crayfish only to have them stolen by Grandpa to be used as bass bait (he usually caught fish whenever he did that so I suppose in retrospect is was alright), and also a lot of throwing large oddly shaped stones out as far as we could heave them and having races to see who could swim out and dive down to retrieve them the fastest. It was a great deal of learning about the natural world in general as well as our place within it.

One summer Grandpa had made himself a live box to keep all the fish we would catch until there were enough of them to warrant cleaning and cooking. A favorite activity of my sister and myself was to watch the fish in the box. Mostly because they were stuck there and couldn't swim away like all the rest of the fish in the lake. Unlike most children I know now, I was never one to learn by actually doing things. Then, as now, my primary mode of learning was through observation. I didn't talk very much except to my sister because I was too busy watching everything around me, and there was always plenty of interest to observe at the lake.

I had told my brothers, who at this time were only 5 or 6, about the live box and how neat it was to see all of the fish inside it. It was going to be their first time staying with Grandma and Grandpa all three this time when Mom and Dad came to pick up Desiree and me. Previously Grandma and Grandpa had only taken one or two of the boys as watching three toddlers at once is quite a lot to ask of people on vacation. They were very excited about seeing the fish in the box but forgot about it, as most young children do, after a few days of not actually seeing it or being reminded of it. So when they got to the lot and Dad asked "Who wants to go see the fish?" they were all very excited once again.

Amidst all of the excitement about the fish and jumping around in glee, Dustin told Dad that he had to pee. Dustin didn't like peeing outside yet, so he went inside to use the toilet in the travel trailer after being assured that he would not miss seeing the fish just because he had to pee. While Dustin was doing his thing in the trailer Dad walked out on the dock with Duncan and Derek and started lifting the live box out of the water so that they could see all of the fish inside. About the time Dad got the box cleared from the water, Dustin walked out of the trailer and saw everyone on the dock. This, of course, led Dustin to the conclusion that they were not waiting for him at all and that he would miss his chance to see the fish in the box.

So he ran.

He ran out of the trailer leaving the door wide open, he ran across the lot without tripping on any of the fallen limbs from the thunderstorm the night before, he ran to the dock and jumped down the three steps to get to water level. He ran the length of the dock, shouted "Let me see, too," pushed his brothers to either side of himself, and he ran off the dock. I think his legs were still making running motions as he went under the water.

Dad dropped the live box back into the water haphazardly and grabbed Dustin by the collar of his shirt, pulling up a very startled and dripping wet little boy whose facial expression can only be described as befuddled terror. I had never before laughed so much and for so long as I did upon seeing Dustin hanging off the end of Dad's arm like some perplexed prehistoric creature dredged up from the lake bottom. To this day I can still remember the exact expression on his face and how much my stomach hurt later that night from all of the laughter.

I have a lot of stories about my brother Dustin. Everything from sleeping in trees with a shotgun to walking off the dock wen he was 5 to almost setting the woods on fire several times his senior year of high school. I don't know if this is because he did more things that were worthy of story-telling or if I remember more stories about him because he is no longer here to do things to tell stories about.

Monty Python

When it was nice outside in the summer, my siblings and I used to stage 'wars' with all the neighbor kids. There were about a dozen or so of us all in all. Since we had the only jungle gym, these mock battles would always occur on our backyard. The jungle gym was the most coveted of all bases of operation. Sometimes we would be cowboys and indians, sometimes pirates. And sometimes we would just pretend that the jungle gym was a castle and that the sand box (which we had filled with water previously) was a moat. Even though it didn't actually go around the jungle gym, it was big enough and full of water enough to pretend.

Once, my sister and I somehow managed to win the jungle gym the night before (these were epic, sometimes weeks long battles) and so had brainstormed what we were going to do the next day before we went to sleep that night. This was easy to do as we shared a room and had bunk beds. We came up with this fantastic idea to use sheets to block off all the walls, and a big quilt to put over the top, of the jungle gym. We were going to get up really early (when the rooster started crowing in the morning) and catch all of the chickens and corral them in the top of the jungle gym.

So we got up really early and put dishes of food and water in the jungle gym, closed it all off and managed to get all of the chickens in the top within a reasonable amount of time. Then we made ourselves breakfast, packed ourselves lunch, made up a couple gallons of Kool-Aid and went back outside to wait for our enemies' arrival.

Several hours later our brothers and the neighbor kids all started to wake up and come outside. They saw the sheeted jungle gym, but Dez and I weren't answering anyone's questions as to whether or not we were up there or if we were even outside at all. Then I heard one of the neighbor boys shout something about "They're not here! They've abandoned their post, let's take it over!" That's when Dez and I each grabbed a couple of chickens, stood up and started throwing them at the people attacking our fort. It was nothing short of spectacular.

We never clipped our chickens' wings at that time, and we had mostly little bantams anyway, so very few of them actually hit what we were tossing them at. They just kind of flapped all over the place causing general chaos. Mom must have heard the commotion, came to the back door to see what we were doing and told Dad to come see, too, because about 1/2 way through our poultry defense assault our parents were both standing on the back porch laughing uncontrollably.

It was an act worthy of Monty Python, but we wouldn't find out who he was until years later.
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