Thursday, October 23, 2014
Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 19 continued
Summer is long past, or so it seems as I look out the window at the fallen leaves blowing around my yard. If the sun comes out and the weather is just right, we might have a few warm days left, but the nights will be just plain cold. There will be frost on the pumpkin each morning.
Yet last week, when I took one of my few last walks around my hometown, even though the temperature was comfortable but certainly not warm, I was reminded of the hot summer days of my youth.
Because we lived in the country, summers were three long months of doing house-work as quickly as we could in the morning and then spending the afternoons and evenings outside, climbing trees, building forts, digging up make-believe treasure chests in the woods. And for me and my sister Pat, it meant very little time spent with other kids our ages.
Except for the Fourth of July. Somehow we always managed to get into town in time for the parade. After the parade, we went to the small carnival at the west end of main street and rode on as many rides as our limited money would buy. One year I rode the tilt-a-whirl too many times in a row and threw up all over the street. Not my finest hour.
As the afternoon began to wane, Pat, I and whatever friends we were able to connect with would wind our way to Memorial Park for the ski show. Only one time as a kid did I get to sit on the bleachers on the north side of the river, instead we always plopped down on a patch of grass (on a blanket if someone was prepared enough to bring one).
Because I can’t swim, much less waterski, those performers on the water seemed almost magical to me. Then, usually right after intermission, when it was getting dark enough that they turned the lights on over the water, the boat would come barreling down the river towing a skier who was airborne. Strapped into a kite, he flew like a bird above the water, dipping and banking. Then just as he passed in front of the bleachers, he would veer towards the pine tree which leaned out across the river. If he was lucky and knew what he was doing, his skis would shoot between the branches of the tree and he would come out unscathed.
And that, dear friends, is what this stump means to me.