Saturday, April 12, 2008

Creeking In My Boots

These days, children beg for Wii's and hand held video games and laptops and they find their adventure within the very small confines of an introverted mind.

These days, I have been kicking around with my dogs back behind our property, home to gravel embankments and a creek as cold as snow melt and clear as rain water.
I take a BB gun out there and relive old childhood memories, sitting on the piles of rocks pechoo'ing wooden chips that float downstream in front of me.

Pechoo pechoo!

It takes me back.

When I was a kid, I begged and begged for rubber boots, the tall kind that came up to my scrawny kneecaps and allowed me to wade up and down our winter streams that ran behind the house.

Pechoo pechoo!

I shot water skippers with my BB gun and spent hours throwing and skipping rocks. I built forts along the gravelly embankments and threw wads of mud at my friends and brother, usually in organized and keenly imagined "mud wars" (which almost always ended in tears and the admonission, "YOU THREW A ROCK!").

The boots were said to be waterproof, but I never bothered to keep them dry. Wading directly up the throat of a creek in wintertime meant your knee high boots filled with water and you truly sloshed your way upstream.

The trick was to not wear socks.

It was common to find skeletal remains in the creek. Of deer and fox and squirrel and skunk where I grew up. I found the remains of a horse once about three miles up a creek where the land was steep and the water fell in tiers.

We had pyrite in our creeks, and this led to days spent panning for gold.

The one thing I learned over everything else in all my days of tramping through creeks was this-- You cannot sink a water skipper with a stone.

Don't believe me? Go find yourself a creek and try it.


Mushy said...

It's a fact - Jack!

Yep, spent hours by lots of creeks in my time and shot up many a package of BBs, skipped a lot of stones, and caught a bunch of crawdads!

Cheesy said...

I can just picture big o' you wading around with that tiny lil' gun.. made me smile.....

{waders for Scott for xmas!} lol

Stucco said...

Ahh, riparian delights.

Bob said...

I used to have a bb gun like that. Then I graduated to the one that looked like a 30-30 rifle.

never did get a pellet gun, though.

singleton said...

These days,
you'd think the rivers and creeks had dried up....
the kid's are all hunkered down punching buttons and remotes
and missing
the boat....
Cheers! To the boy's life, the real life, and hoping like hell
that like
bell bottoms
and peace signs
and mini skirts,
rivers and rocks and the good life comes back in style!

Nikky said...

reading this makes me want to sell the Wii and move to the country...*sigh*

Shrinky said...

Yeah, kids weren't so wrapped in cotton wool in our days as they are now. Parental fears stop many from the joys of just being a kid and doing what kids do best, exploring the delights of woods and streams, coming home wet, muddy and spent.

Is there really that much more danger out there today, or is it just that due to the media, we are simply more aware of it?

Shirley said...

I grew up in an era that allowed me to get out and explore without having to think of the potential dangers that might await me. I could spend each and every day searching for interesting and fun things to do. Even my children had a lot of that freedom. They could roam around and even go out trick-or-treating without needing an adult there with them. I think they were the last generation to enjoy that. Now there really is a lot of danger out there. Unless you live in a rural area there isn't much for kids to do that will keep them out of serious mischief or danger. Now they sit in front of a television set or involve themselves with hand held games, many of them violent, and grow bored with the world around them.

kario said...

Aww, I miss Oregon. Thanks for the nostalgia!

My girls love tromping around in the creek that lines our property - although it's mostly populated with freshwater mussel shells (the raccoons eat all the mussels) and I'm not getting them a BB gun. Having received a BB to the right cheek (posterior) as a child has me more interested in teaching them to skip rocks.

Keep on, dude!

travistee said...

You've just described what I fear my children have never experienced. They're not even video or tv heads... most of us live in neighborhoods now with little room for the kind of exploration we did as kids.

amusing said...

The rivers and creeks have dried up, been buried, covered over by housing developments, shopping malls, new roads and highways, etc. Which means the roads are more crowded with cars, BIG cars, and drivers are pissed off and talking on the phone. It's very easy to see that it's no longer safe to hop on your bike and ride around all day. It's not the media making me rather certain there's a good chance my kid could be run down by some idiot trying to cut two seconds off his commute by running the yellow light.

And don't even get me started on how kids with working parents spend their days in organized day care programs instead of roaming freely through neighborhoods playing "red light/green light" until the sun goes down....


Anonymous said...

Scott, you were so lucky.

Anonymous said...

It's me, Carol, though apparently I'd have to have a google account to be named on the comments. How's the running? I just did the Two Oceans ultra (56km) in Cape Town.