Thursday, October 22, 2015

To Ethelyn

Dear Ethelyn,

We fished, hiked, swam, boated, dug, picked, leapt, skied, crawled, and rolled.

We drove tractors, lawn mowers, the Cobalt, and—on country roads and at the farm—your Bronco. We got stuck in the mud a lot and hit the bumpy places going way too fast.

We rode horses, bikes (both on the seat and as passengers on the back), Ski Bobs, Humbugs, all kinds of boats, and sometimes, the back of the Bronco with the tailgate open. We leaned half our bodies out the car window and picked leaves when passing trees; we rode in the Cobalt while it was on the trailer, and pretended to drive.

We hiked in ditches, through creeks, down alleys, around the schoolyard, across town, down the railroad tracks, all around the farm, and through the woods. We balanced carefully while crossing the creeks on fallen trees; we swung from vines that sometimes broke mid-swing.

We climbed rocks, hills, and trees. We fell and got “good clean dirt” all over us.

We picked beans, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and afterward, ticks.

We ate Maggie’s delicious cooking, and for snack, Oreos, Doritos, and Nutter Butters. We had Sprite parties with ice cream at night.

We played Arrow and shot firecrackers. We fished from the shore, from a boat, and once, from the dam. We flattened pennies when trains came by and taped them to glow-in-the-dark keychains so we could find them later. We crawled under the house next door to find kittens.

We got up early and went places in our pajamas, just so we wouldn’t miss out on whatever you were up to!

We went on house calls and trips around town to see cousins and friends. I rode on your doctor bag in between the front seats to be closest to you (and I think that’s why my tailbone was so sore for several years).

Wherever you were going was where we wanted to be, and we didn’t care how we got there—with you, the trip was always part of the fun.

You taught me how to ride a bike on your red bicycle. You taught so many of us how to ski on two skis and later, one!

We learned about kindness, patience, generosity, and what it means to live life to the fullest.

When I think about the adventures I want my children to have growing up, they are exactly the kind of adventures we had with you. They were the times of our lives!

Much love,


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