Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tales from the Woods, Part 2 of 2 (Originally written 2002)

When John was two, he loved to play hide and seek. Except he would stand in front of you with his hands over his eyes and say, "go find me, mom, go find me." I guess he thought since he couldn’t see me, I couldn’t see him.
Patrick. Joyce’s oldest boy. Next in age to the twins. Tow-headed and friendly and lovable as a pup. All these kids were good kids. They all had jobs of one sort or another the whole time they were growing up. And Patrick, especially, always seemed to look out for the younger kids.

One of the neighbors down the street had an in-ground pool in their backyard and they invited the neighborhood children over for a pool party one summer afternoon. They were an older couple, had no children at home, but they loved kids still. Moms were invited. I think they even served snacks. So the moms were standing around visiting and the kids were splashing and jumping and playing in the pool. For some reason Patrick was not in the pool. Probably he came over to ask him mom something. All of a sudden he yelled and dove into the middle of the pool and grabbed his little sister. She must have been about 6 or 7 at the time. They all could swim, at least a little bit, but I guess she got in over her head and panicked and started to gasp and choke. And in jumped Patrick to the rescue!
One of the funniest childhood antics was the time Tom pitched a portion of our driveway out into the street. Not that he INTENDED to. It just "happened" the way things "happen" when kids are being kids.

This was during the several years of "station wagon" transportation for our six-member family. Tom was about 13 at the time. Old enough to want to drive, not old enough to do so. Except. My reward to him for helping me get the carful of groceries into the kitchen every week was to let him pull the car up into the driveway and park it. I would drive it barely onto the driveway from the street, we would lug the groceries in, and then he would move the car up on the driveway as far as it would go. We didn’t have a garage at the time so the driveway was only about 20 feet long.

This particular time, we had gotten home about 20 minutes before Jerry was expected, which was 5:30 p.m.  Jerry was usually prompt.  (These were the times -- you remember them, don't you? -- when families actually sat down and ate dinner together most every evening.  In our family, it was also the time we asked each person, "and what did YOU do today?")

Once I got inside with the groceries I was oblivious to what was taking place in the driveway. Years later I learned it was my sons’s practice to drive the car back and forth, back and forth as many times as he thought he could get away with.  This time, however, after he drove it back down toward the street, he decided to "nail it" going forward.
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I have to digress for a moment and interject this bit of information. None of us knew this until our recent dinner at Pasquales Restaurant on Woodward in Royal Oak, Michigan, with my neighbor Joyce and her and my now grown family.  We were reminiscing and my neighbor Joyce told us she just happened to be watching this entire incident from her front window.
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When Tom "nailed" it, large junks of asphalt from the driveway went exploding from under the driveway into the street! The asphalt had been down for many years and was full of cracks. The stress from the weight of the rear spinning tires of a five thousand pound station wagon was just too much stress on that old pavement.

Inside I was oblivious to the drama being played outside but Joyce saw it all.

Tom knew his dad would be home any minute so he scrambled about getting all the pieces of asphalt out of the street and back into some semblance of order in the driveway. Somehow he managed to accomplish this before his dad arrived!

At our recent dinner, Joyce told us she just stood there at her window laughing and thinking, "Oh, Boy, Dawn is in for it now."
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Another time, another place, another me . . . precious memories.