When I think about the things I enjoyed doing and was allowed to do as a child, it makes me sad for my kids.
I was in second grade and my dad rented a house in Corydon, Indiana. It was a very old house. No hot water, wood- burning stove was our only heat and we loved it. I have a younger brother who is two years younger than me. That would mean he was in kindergarten.
The first Christmas we were there, while opening presents my dad came rushing into the house and told us to go get our dog because it was fighting something in the yard. This was common, so we ran out to see what was going on. Tied to a tree there were two ponies. We were so excited. The way I remember it we jumped right on them and began three years of adventure.
Our mother and father were separated. She was in Texas and my dad had a live-in girlfriend. She was only 19 or so. My dad worked all week and some weekends, which left his girlfriend to watch us. In truth, we were on our own other than the food she gave us and when we forced her to be a referee.
We would wake up early in the morning and half asleep we would grab our ponies and take off. We set out to discover everything around us. We traveled down the road in front of our house to see what was at the other end first.
This the road we rode down.
We had no idea the wonders that lay at the end of it.
This was just one of the cool things we saw.
A little farther was an old bridge.
We actually took our ponies across this bridge. Remember I was only in second grade and my brother was in kindergarten. Below this bridge we liked to use inner tubes to ride the rapids. This is Indian Creek, which wrapped around White Cloud.
One day we went down to the creek where it ran in front of our house and we caught Bobby Knight, the famously angry coach of Indiana University Basketball. We wouldn’t leave him alone because it was like running into a huge celebrity. I guess he was pretty huge.
This was a huge deal.
Here is a better picture of him.
So after we annoyed him forever he gave us two mud dogs that he caught that day. With fishing line tied around their necks, he told us to take them to our dad. We hadn’t seen one before. If you haven’t check it out.
A mud dog is a catfish with legs and a long tail.
At home, we ran into the house and presented these two fish to our father. We were so excited. Our dad shared his love of college basketball with us, so we just knew he was going to think it was pretty cool that Bobby Knight had given us something to give him. He thought it was really cool that we ran into the famed coach but the mud dogs were not provoking excitement at all. We thought we discovered a whole new species. We were adventurers, weren’t we?
Our dad told us to take them back to the coach, but we were too scared. He had his brand new pickup truck parked across from our house where the path to the creek was. To our horror, he took the two creatures and put them in the back of his truck. I bet Mr. Knight wasn’t too excited about that. It sure did make for a great family story, though.
There were countless nights that we would go down to the creek to fish all night long. It was nothing to us. We built a fire to stay warm and keep the bugs away. In the morning ,we would ride our ponies back to the house and go to sleep.
Our ponies were always getting loose. We had barns and no matter what we did to keep them secure they always found a way out. When that happen we had to find them. Somehow we always did.
These are just a few of the amazing times we had together. I cannot imagine letting my first grader who in the fall will be in second grade do any of these things. We don’t live in the country anymore, maybe it would be different if we did.
Thanks Dad for allowing us to do these things. It was awesome.