This is where I find my soul,
Out where holy men of old
first knelt in soil
and thanked You for the rain.
–Chris Rice “My Cathedral”
Those are things that David and I did in the general area of the house, but how about adventures in the very yard of the house?
We had our own sandbox those days. Every kid needs a sandbox. It’s essential, trust me. Anyway, ours was just a big hole that someone dug in the yard with some sand filled into it. This meant that you could play in the topsand, plus if you wanted you could try to dig to China! Every young kid tries to dig a big hole straight through the earth to China, don’t’ they? Maybe not every kid. David didn’t seem to think it was the hottest idea because some altercation happened and one of us threw sand in the other’s eyes. I don’t remember having sand in my eyes, though I think I was the victim. David will remember, though.
Near the sandpit was a swing set. Not a sturdy swing set, mind you, anchored into the ground in mind of vigorous young children. This swing set’s legs would leave the earth if you swung too enthusiastically. Then, if there were TWO kids on swinging “in each other’s bathrooms” (or side-by-side instead of opposite arcs, if you prefer), there was a very good chance of tipping the whole set over. David did not appreciate my insight on this possibility, however. Being the oldest meant being the smartest and that was proven as both of us landed flat on the ground when the swing tipped over backward. At least he was man enough afterward to admit I was right.
The front yard had a slope, going toward the stream, which led down to a garden. In the wintertime after plenty of snow had fallen the slope was the perfect place for little kids to go sledding. In a good year the slope would take us most of the way through the garden and toward the stream. You would have to be careful to make sure you stopped before going over the water, though, because who knew how deep the ice might be?
Another great toy in the yard was an old, brown Datsun that had been my mother’s first car (I believe). After she got her second car, the Datsun went to my grandfather where it seemed to spend a lot of time parked in the drive. This car was the perfect toy for two young boys. At times the car was the General Lee and David and I would use the windows to enter/exit instead of the doors. I particularly enjoyed doing this. The car had a sticker of Rusty Jones in the back window (he was, apparently, the logo for some sort of car product…Rustoleum maybe?) and at time we would amuse ourselves by lying in the back of the car sobbing “Oh no, Rusty Jones is dead!” Seemed quite amusing at the time but now it sounds weird.