After getting all the pictures and videos of our Tennessee children, camping, playing in the water, fishing and swimming, David and I began talking about our childhood adventures. Our oldest son, Daniel, and our daughter-in-law, Camilla, along with their married children, all live in Tennessee and all are very thoughtful and make us feel included in all their lives there.
This past weekend, they, along with one of their daughters, her husband, and twin 2-year-old boys, went camping off the grid.
As we talked my husband told of his scariest water adventure and how he had almost drowned. He had been swimming with cousins and friends at a clay pit when he was a small boy. The bigger boys were diving in, and David, being the youngest, had to do it too. He did not realize how deep it was. He said he just kept going down and down. There seemed to be no bottom. He didn't think he would make it but managed to get hold of something and pull himself out. He took me to the spot where that happened more than 70 years ago.
I remember stepping off in a deep hole in the creek and not being able to touch the bottom, so scared because I couldn't swim. The creek was full of loud, laughing cousins and pranks, so I knew no one would believe me yelling for help. I finally caught the edge of the hole and got out.
Then I told him the scariest thing I remember that was in the water, was the time I had a leech stuck on my leg. That was when Middle River was our family's bathtub. That evening a lot of relatives had gathered there and was swimming, washing hair and such. While in the creek I noticed something stuck on my leg and being the brave little girl I was, I screamed, it scared me to death! My Uncle Dick came to my rescue and got it off for me. It was stuck tight though!
In our family, we always felt fortunate. You see, we were owners of one of the best bathtubs in our neck of the woods. We called it Middle River. Now that was only for the summer months, of course. Our winter baths were a totally different experience. The nightly bath in the summer was always a welcome adventure. Relatives who lived nearby would show up at our house with bars of soap, towels, and usually a bottle of Joy, or similar dish detergent, for hair washing. Everyone would pile in the back of our old wagon. By everyone, I mean grownups, children and dogs. We would head out to Middle River with the wagon being pulled by our two mules, Maude and Merle. Parents talked, children laughed and hollered as we traveled the worn path through the cornfield and over the steep rocky hill that was between our house and the creek. The road would sometimes have to be moved a little to the right or left to keep the wagon wheel tracks from getting too deep. Usually, halfway there, someone would bring up a song title and all chatter would stop. Everyone would begin singing at the top of his or her lungs. Once in a while, the song would get stopped while everyone discussed what the next line should be, then it was back to singing.
You know, I have often wondered what old Maude and Merle thought concerning these outings. Seemingly, they enjoyed the whole scene. Perhaps they just wanted to get it done? Those mules were smart though. They could make their way to that swimming hole without even being guided.
Many funny stories developed from those evening bathing trips. Children learned to swim, water fights broke out, and we would make rafts and floats, etc. The boys were good at pulling all the usual pranks that boys play. Like grabbing someone's leg and yelling, "snake!" My mom always took her fair share of teasing because of her fear of the water. I think being raised in a large family with brothers who, she said, would try to drown you, contributed to her phobia. You could always see mom at a safe distance from the deep-water watching.
We feel blessed and thankful to get pictures and videos of all our great-grandchildren. Daniel and Camilla's daughter, Cortney, and her husband, Dexter, share videos of their twin sons. These little guys, Dawson and Rowen, are such a blessing to our family. Dexter and Cortney were praying for a baby and I guess they prayed a lot. They got two! The boys were born early and were very small. Now at two years, they are the picture of health, with happy dispositions. Dexter and Cortney are great parents, and the twins are so agreeable and eager to please.
Baby Dawson looks like his mama, and Rowen looks so much like his daddy that I thought they we trying to trick me by showing pictures of his daddy, Dexter, at that age. They look just alike!
Daniel and Camilla's other daughter, Kirsten, and husband, Steven, have a wonderful family as well, big brother Creed, and our only great-granddaughter beautiful Lydia.
We really had some great family times back growing up. It's so good to see our little great-grandsons enjoying camping and the water so much like we did. I remember their daddy, Dexter, saying he could hardly wait to have sons to fish with him. Well, he sure got blessed! These two love to hold their little poles in the water fishing, and use their little dip nets to catch minnows, and true to his word he loves to spend the time with them. The boys also loved eating popcorn around the campfire and sleeping in their tent.
Seems like most are all too busy these days to rejoice in these simple, wonderful pleasures God has given us. There are still swimming holes out there, and there are still children, so let's do it! Have a happy, safe summer, and enjoy!