I used to write short stories during my lunch break. Right before I started back to work I would send the stories to some of my co-workers who seemed to enjoy them. I was going through a difficult time eventually and didn't feel like writing. I started to get requests for stories and responded to each that it is hard to write when stressed out and depressed. After several more requests I put my feelings aside and spent an hour on a new story. It was dark....what had been intended as funny was brutal and mean. In less than an hour of sending the story out I was getting requests to please, PLEASE never write stories while I'm depressed.
I'm kind of stressed and depressed now...not that bad but borderline. Its enough for me to hesitate writing anything new. I thought for a change I would tell a story I told a few years ago. Its easy reading, a bit of humor and nostalgia, and most importantly written when life was grand and I walked around with a silly smile on my face all the time. Maybe retelling this story will help me get out of my funk.
Long before the Methodist church made a parking lot out of it there was a great park at the end of our street. Before the city made a park out of it there was a really cool stand of woods with a creek running through it at the end of our street. We were absolutely forbidden to go anywhere near these woods for fear we would fall into the creek, be eaten by a bear, or possibly have more fun than was legal in 1956. For these very reasons we spent every waking moment planning a trip to the woods, sneaking off to the woods, or running and playing with total abandon in the woods.
It was a beautiful spring day when Glenn and I felt the urge to make a trip to the woods. It may have been okay if we had bothered to tell Mama where we were going....of course if we had told her we would have forbidden to go. It makes perfect sense to both of us even today that our reasoning was sound in sneaking off. We scooted out of the house with no problem. When there are five kids in the house it's barely noticeable when two go missing. We made it to the woods and were having the time of our lives within a few minutes.
Had we known this would be our last trip to the woods we would have soaked it in with every breath. Too many times in life the things we love are taken from us with no warning. After less than an hour Mama came looking for us. She found us. She had a switch in her hand and a mean look in her eye. Glenn was able to run because his feet were actually on the ground. He was only four though and never gave running a thought. He decided to hide behind a weed instead. A bad decision but excusable based on age and experience.
If I had been on the ground I would have run....all the way to Bedford before I stopped. Unfortunately I was mid-swing over the creek on one of the grapevines hanging from the oak trees. And, I was swinging toward a very irate Mama. I thought about letting go and falling into the creek. I would have survived with only a couple of broken bones. In the end though I landed right in front of her and took the first bite of that switch right across my skinny legs like a man. Being a man was short-lived however. I was squealing like a girl after the second or third hit. Glenn got it just as bad. The walk home was rough.
We were still getting an occasional swat as we worked our way up the hill toward home. We had never counted the kids we knew on the block until that day. There must have been a hundred of them. They were all outside as we went by. The were all watching. They were all whispering, "there but by the grace of...." or something of that sort.
We kept our distance from the woods while the wounds to our legs and pride healed. It must have been at least a week before we ventured down there again. To our shock and sadness there were bulldozers tearing those woods down to make way for a new city park. Our hearts were broken. We vowed we would never step foot in that park. Then we ran home as fast as we could before we were missed.