Thursday, January 13, 2011

early morning ramblings about childhood memories

I'm currently getting over a cold and my incessant cough is preventing me from sleeping. I'm not sure why, but I've gotten to thinking about memories of my childhood at the old Bluffdale house. Since I've got nothing else to do I've decided to jot a few of them down.

There was the rotten tomato fight that David and I got into when I was at most 6 or 7 and he was 18 or 19. Of course after the smoke cleared I was drenched in smelly red liquid and he just had a few spots of tomato juice on his clothes...probably ricochets from tomatoes he'd hit me with. I was just happy to have played with David.

There were the endless hours spent with Heather and others in the Chinese Elm tree over by the pig pen and the compost pile. There was the time in the tree when Heather got so mad because of something Tawni had done that she broke off Tawni's favorite branch and threw it away. Or the time we finally got up the guts to cross over the long branch that went from the branches where we'd sit to the trunk over by the pig pen. There was that one particular branch that I thought was so comfortable that I used to try to go to sleep while sitting on it. I even took a picture of Heather while she was in that tree that took me through three levels of the Reflections contest. That was the best climbing tree in the world.

There were the times that we would go sit on the rail fence outside of Daryl's pig pens and watch him feed the pigs. He would come over and talk to us and I would be fascinated by the brass bracelet he wore and the worm holes in the wood of the fence I was sitting on. Daryl would tell us about the pigs, offer to give us the brand new rabbits that had just been born, warn us to stay away from the fence that separated his pasture from ours so as to not get his cow angry, and maybe show us the dead cat in his freezer. Coolest old man in the world.

There were the hours spent chasing Keesh up and down the field wondering if I'd ever be fast enough to keep up with him. I used to ask Mom if it was okay if I tried to ride him. The answer was always no. Cats came and went frequently, but Keesh, Keesh was a pillar of constancy in my young life. I could always depend on Keesh to be there. Keesh was as much a part of the family as I was; he was the fastest, lovingest, best dog the world has ever known.

Then there was the day I spent sobbing after I found Keesh motionless under the cherry tree. The world was never so dark.

There was the day I was weeding the garden when the lady reading the meters came up to me and asked what that awful smell was. When I told her I couldn't smell anything she muttered something under her breath about messed up country kids and walked off while I stood there completely nonplussed.

There were the hours spent trying to catch water skeeters out of the ditches and putting them in jars where I kept them til they died. Why did I keep them in jars? I don't know. I'd always wanted to catch a caterpillar and put it in a jar and watch it turn into a cocoon and then a butterfly. But caterpillars were hard to come by and water skeeters were plentiful. While I never said it out loud because I knew it was silly, I always secretly thought that water skeeters probably did the same thing as caterpillars but no one paid enough attention to them to find out. I was going to be the first one to discover it. Turns out they don't cocoonize themselves after all. And they definitely don't become butterflies. They just die.

There was the time I was playing basketball in the driveway and some random person parked their car outside of the Jones' house and just sat there; no one got out of the car for a solid 30 minutes. I imagined that in the car was an NBA scout who was friends with David Jones. The scout had come to visit, but had seen me playing basketball and couldn't help but to watch this child prodigy with the enormous glasses. I knew he saw my glasses and understood that they gave me a competitive advantage because I could see the hoop so much more clearly. I never did so many layups in a row in my life...because it was the only shot I could make with consistency.

There was the summer when I was 10 or so and I read a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Spanish-American War and how Roosevelt stormed San Juan Hill. For the rest of the summer as I mowed the back pasture with the old yellow lawn mower (the one with tall back wheels and no self-propel feature) I would go to the bottom of the field closest to Daryl's fence and then pretend to be Teddy Roosevelt and charge up the hill, running and pushing the mower with all my might. I did it over and over and over again...until I got to the part of the field that had ground bees. I just went around that part.

There were the summer nights that I'd lay in bed and listen to the sound of the frogs coming from down on Uncle Jack's property, and I'd hear the train horn blowing in the distance, and often I'd catch the faint smell of skunk coming in through the open window.

There was the time I was walking from the chicken coops to the house with a length of PVC pipe in my hand and I got it in my head that the blue spruce tree had done me some unforgivable wrong. I rectified the wrong by beating the tree mercilessly with the pipe. The next day when I heard Dad telling Mom that something had really damaged the tree, I kept quiet, assured of my victory.

There were the times Ashley and I would play in the lilac bushes behind Grandma Turner's house. There was the one branch that we'd stand on and bounce up and down on for hours. How those bushes ever survived us I'll never know.

There was the time it snowed so much that school was canceled so Melanie and Maurianne and Heather and I all went outside and made the coolest snow tunnels and caves and other snow things in the front yard. I think David had already gone to school before the cancellation went into effect so he wasn't around, but I remember being ecstatic that Melanie and Maurianne, who were so much older and cooler than me and Heather, were outside playing with us. I brought one of my Hot Wheels cars out to play with once it all was made. Best winter day ever.

Childhood was awesome. I could probably go on like this for a while, but I think I'm gonna try to go back to bed.


  1. This was probably my favorite blog post of any blog I have ever read. Yes, I mean it. I totally had flashbacks to each of those places.

    The ditch that I wasn't allowed to go near because I would for sure drown. I remember your birthday party and playing pin the tail on the donkey in the front yard. The lilac trees for sure. I had forgotten about Daryl's gold bracelet but as soon as you mentioned it the image came back into my mind. I remember picking up chicken bones with you and heather back by the big climbing tree and treasuring them until my mom told me they were really gross.

    I also remember when you and Suzy came to play with me and the ambulance was in the front yard getting robby and you two didn't believe me that there was an ambulance there.

    Oh gosh, I could keep on going too but I best be getting back to work. I'm sure we could have a great conversation about this though.

  2. A few thoughts:
    - That's creepy about the guy outside the Joneses.
    - It was so sad that you had to be the one who found Keesh that day—poor little guy.
    - I loved that snow day. Remember how high the snow drifts were in the backyard?
    - Darrell was always that cool. I remember one time he invited us to come over and see the newborn piglets, and that was the coolest day ever.
    - I loved listening to the frogs at night, and a faint whiff of skunk will always remind me of summer.
    - Try some Mucinex DM or Nyquil. I love these ramblings, but you need to sleep tonight. :)

  3. Did you grow up in 18th century Kentucky?

  4. So great! Ditto to Ashley and Mauri. But again I think you remember things that didn't happen, just some of them. ;) Just one question, was the smell the pigs across the street? That has to be the best part of the ramblings.

  5. Nice Sammy!!! Love the blog post.. I remember going over to Darrell's house sometimes when he would take the rabbits pin them up on the wood wall of his barn and slaughter them. Blood would run down the wood and it was probably the coolest thing ever!! He would also pop out his false teeth and show me his gums. Good times in Bluffdale!! I remember playing in the ditch and irrigating when the water came through the ditches.

    Playing in the coupes was the all time best as well! running over to the Dunn's house on that little trail in the backyard of the Bluffdale house was always way fun.

    Dude, such fun times!!! Loved all those good memories... There was a weird magnifying glass thing in the coups I came across once and almost burned my hand because I didn't know the full functionality of what a magnifying glass did.

  6. I have to agree with Ashley-favorite blog post I have ever read! It actually brought back a TON of memories for me as well! Darrel was the coolest old man ever!