Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Down by the crick

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That’s “crick,” not creek.

When I was growing up, my grandma lived on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in rural Ohio. It was a kid’s paradise. There was nothing to be fearful of, and we had the run of the place. Getting to go to grandma’s and stay for a few days was quite the treat.

My grandmother had a ditch that ran parallel to her property where, I now know, all of the sewage emptied. We knew we weren’t supposed to play in the ditch, but that didn’t stop us from having a fine old time daring each other to jump over it. I was a bit of a wuss. I had an older brother and two older boy cousins who would gang up on me and try to get me to do things no one my age had any business doing. Like crawling inside the corn crib. I got locked in there that time. By locked in, I mean they locked me in and ran away. It’s cool though; it helped me learn to be resourceful.

The ditch used to fill with drifts of snow during the winter time. I recall one winter when my cousins and my family were both visiting. It had snowed enough that the ditch was drifted until it was almost level with the top of the banks. We decided it would be great fun to play hockey with my sister. And by play hockey, I mean we laid her on her back in her snow suit and took turns shoving her back and forth across the ditch. She was little enough that the snow suite made it almost impossible for her to move, and it was totally impossible for her to get up off of her back. Don’t worry; she wasn’t hurt. It was good for her. Our family raised some tough kids.

If you followed the ditch far enough, you’d end up down at the crick. There was sand to play in and crawdads to catch. Those little alien-like beings were better left alone as far as I was concerned, but the boys would hunt them down. I don’t know that they ever did anything with the crawdads, except pick them up and torture me by holding them two inches from my face. We definitely never ate them. For that, I’m glad because I now realize that all the ditches in the area emptied into the crick. So. Disgusting. But at the time, it was the best thing ever. Especially when we were old enough to head down to the crick on our own.

I think there was only one time in my entire childhood that we saw another human being down at the crick. It was just our own little paradise. We’d traipse down the dirt path that was really for the tractors to get to the fields, and we’d make up stories and sing and yell. We’d race each other to the next visible landmark, and we’d make jokes and talk smack. Some days, I kind of wish I could go back there. Both to the time and place. It’s no joke that things were simpler then.

When my grandmother died, we gathered down by the crick after we had gone to the cemetery (she was buried only a mile or so from her old house). The next generation took off down to the shallow waters and ran right in.

Grandma's house.

The old homestead.

Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

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