Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boys Water and Mud

Fall rains filled the seasonal stream nearby and it was irresistible to a young Grayquill. Dams, mud, neighbor boys and a little brother to direct, made the possibilities endless. Grayquill laid awake at night planning the next bigger and better dam. Grayquill had one problem at age eight it was those new Red Wing boots his father had bought him to start school with. Along with the new boots was responsibility and instructions, “The very first thing you are to do when you get home from school is change into you old boots before going out to play.”
“Okay, sure dad, I’ll do it”
Let me stop here for a little perspective. My father had not more than a year earlier auctioned off all his farm equipment and move his six children to the Pacific Northwest. He had no trade, the work he found paid less than a wife and six children needed, the auction money was mostly if not completely used up. Nothing extra was bought during that time. Good boots were a thing my dad would spend money on even for a small boy. My dad and I had sat and greased those new boots and he taught me how to care for them.
Walking home from the bus stop took so long, Grayquill was anxious to not waste any of the remaining daylight hours after arriving home. Forgetting his father’s instructions he dropped his school stuff and headed out the back door to where his friends waited. Down the hill across the street and into the deep gully the boys went. The water was thrilling as they watched it rushing by. Rocks soon were being tossed into the chosen spot but they were directly swept away. Obviously boulders were needed, not fist sized rocks. Four or five small boys can be exceedingly productive and soon had maneuvered boulders into the stream, they held. Now came the smaller fist sized rocks filling in the cracks. Little by little the passage way for the water became narrower and narrower and the water began backing up. It wasn’t long before the water began pouring over the top of their dam and it became clear it would need to be higher. A bigger base of boulders would be required. After two hours of dam building in the rain and mud, Grayquill and his brother heard their fathers whistle calling them to dinner.
Dad met the boys at the back door. Both were made to strip, change into clean clothes, and then came the spanking for not changing the boots.
The next day brought more rain, and phase two of the dam was at the top of Grayquill’s agenda. Rushing into the house dropping his school stuff and straight out the back door went Grayquill minus his brother. Brother was changing his clothes and boots. Grayquill didn’t really even notice his brother had not followed. For he was focused on water, new boulders, giving direction to the neighborhood boys which boulder should go where. The two hours passed quickly and covered from head to toe in mud and grit came his father’s whistle calling him to dinner. Out of the gully he crawled caked in mud. Grayquill’s dad meet him at the back door and this time the spanking came even before the dirty soggy clothes could be extricated. Grayquill remembers that spanking hurting a bit more than the day before. Hmmm…could it have been his bum was still a bit tender from the previous day’s paddling?
The next day brought more rain, and phase three of the dam was at the top of Grayquill’s agenda. Rushing into the house dropping his school stuff and out the back door he went…Well I think you get the picture. Grayquill heard the whistle, Dad met Grayquill at the back door and another spanking occurred. Grayquill’s father sure was consistent. Grayquill remembers this paddling hurt considerably more than the previous two.
The next day brought more rain, and phase four of the dam was at the top of Grayquill’s agenda. Rushing into the house dropping his school stuff and heading toward the back door, Grayquill stopped and changed his boots.
Now you have heard a boot tale. D’OH!


Arkansas Patti said...

At least you got your consistency honestly from your Dad. When it comes to pleasure, rules be damned. Couldn't help the pun. Fun post Grayquill.

Bill S. said...

Oh, the follies of youth - and lessons learned. Correction was quick and timely. Thanks to dads that cared even though they did not employ "time-outs" that work or do not work depending on the child.
Great story.

Anita Jeyan said...

It took three spankings for little Grayquill to learn..! The imp point here is, he learnt the lesson after all the spankings...!! The lesson matters, and not the number of spankings or the intensity. Seriously, I guess I missed some spankings from Papa! (Hope he does not read this )

Anonymous said...

Uhh Ohh...Grayquill seems to imply that a good rod can correct even a very wayward, careless little boy....
But it still made a fun read :)..Don't know what that says about me though! :|

Grayquill said...

Arkansas Patti: Your gift with words just rolls out of you. You can pun away on my blog anytime.
Over the years, I have often been surprised when I think back at my indifference to those first two spankings. I am glad not all lessons came so slow.

Bill S: I don’t think my dad had ever heard of a time out. If he had I am sure he would have thought it was stupid – mainly because I don’t think he would had the patience for such a technique.

Anita: Were you in a habit of playing in the mud as a little girl? If Papa does read this, tell him Grayquill says, that adult children need hugs.

Choco: Did you escape some needed discipline? Someone told me discipline means to teach. To an eight years old teaching was something that was supposed to happen at school. Spankings were just a pain in the butt.

Lynda G. said...

You have GOT to love little boys! HAHA! I have one of my own and a class full of eight year olds every year! They keep me on my toes!

Anonymous said...

Little Choco unlike Little Grayquill, was born disciplined... Didn't you read the little Choco series at all? She was a little angel you see.. :p

Grayquill said...

Lynda G: I found as an adult I really didn't like little boys or litter girls. I found them mostly irritating. But if I was forced into time and place with those irritating little peep squeaks, I would bond with them. Their irritating habits are what endeared me to them.

Choco: I am almost old I don’t remember some things – stop bugging me.
As far as little Choco being an angel I find that to be highly implausible. Now cute with a personality that made all the adults stop with amazement, watching her in wonder – that I would expect. I think grown up Choco still causes adults to be a bit befuddled.

troutbirder said...

Thanks for stopping by my little nature blog. I enjoyed checking out your blog. Fun stories and writing style.

Anonymous said...

Adults befuddled...Now why would you think that?

Amrita said...

Beautiful post GQ. This is how our heavenly Father deals with us...He disciplines us.

Grayquill said...

Troutbirder: Your name says a lot…Thanks for coming by for a look see. Thanks for the kind words.

Choco: Adults befuddled…seriously, do you really have to ask? You are a one of a kind, so often going right up to that edge pushing at the boundaries. In her words one will find humor, compassion, anger, reprimands, teaching moments, wisdom, relentlessly speaking her truth, all this wrapped up in unique and excellent writing.

Amrita: You see the Heavenly Father at work do you? Here I thought it was just my dad not wanting me to ruin my boots. I guess more could be going on without a child’s conscious acknowledgement. Great comment!

Blunt Edges said...


in retrospect it all looks fun...but the "retrospect" comes many years later...cute post though...n i have no clue why i wrote the 1st line in caps :D

Grayquill said...

blunt edges: The caps because you believe strongly? Thanks for the compliment...I think

Tall Guy said...

That's one hard way to learn :)