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Posted 11/03/15 (Tue)


Have you ever wondered about the attraction between children and water? If you are a parent or grandparent, I know you realize what I am talking about. If you are walking across the yard or down the street and there is a puddle of water, or worse, a pile of used hay, a child that can barely toddle, will step in the mess. Even if it means falling down or getting completely soaked.
I was reminded of it this weekend. We, well, actually Shirley, was in charge of five boys ranging in age from two to 12. And just below our house is a small dam. It kind of acts as a lagoon. The corrals drain into it. The sewer runs into it. It is not the pristine pond on the prairie that you see in pictures of ranch homes in a real estate paper. If you live in Dickinson you know that smell that drifts across town when a southeast breeze is blowing, well that smell can also permeate from our dam.
Yesterday, since it was pretty dang nice for a November day, Shirley sent the boys outside. “Go for a walk. Play catch. Chase the cats. But get out of the damn house!” And they did.
For about a half hour they played outside. When they came in they were covered in…well, they were covered. Grandma quickly threw them out of the house and stood them at attention in the yard. There she hosed them down the best she could. In the summer it would be fun. When it is 45 and breezy, it tends to chill the child. But it did take the rough edges off the mess.
And did I mention the new shoes? Yes, they were all wearing their brand new shoes. Which cost about the same as a small, new car. And the boys spent the next hour cleaning their new shoes.
And all this reminded me of a rodeo we produced years ago. I think it was in Hebron. Our rodeos were a family affair. Brothers and brother-in-laws picked up. Moms and grandmoms secretaried or timed. If you were related to us, you had a non-paying job somewhere in the production.
When the rodeo ended and we were loading horses and bulls and steers and calves, Moms started gathering up kids. As the kids and nephews and nieces were gathered up, we found they had been playing in the Hebron lagoon. Not pretty. Not a nice smell. And no sway to hose them off. Just throw them in the sleeper on the semi and drive with the windows down. We had another rodeo to go to.
Now these kids were black with sewer mud. And they were hungry. We stopped at a convenience store and bought some healthy food. Grapes. Really. Grapes. And when they were handed to one of the Hanna boys, either Brady or Dane, he came with the question as he reached out his black hands for the grapes. “Are these grapes washed?”