WE were not an affluent family when I was a small boy. Toys were few and far between and most of our fun was had by using our imaginations and playing outside in nature.
There was a pond behind the house complete with frogs and a stream. There was a big hill we could walk to for sledding in the winter and a one acre field across the stream.
The pond wasn’t really suitable for swimming but catching frogs and playing in the stream and making dams was great fun, or at least it was until my father came walking over from the sawmill wondering what had happened to his water supply (for washing logs).
One of the not so fun times I remember was when I was burning papers (because that’s what we did back in the day) the fire got into the woods nearby. I ran over to the sawmill to grab Dave, my father’s business partner, because he was a fireman and would know what to do. I then spent about an hour with a shovel slowly but surely putting the fire out. I watched the papers being burned much more closely after that.
Being in a family with four siblings all within five years of age meant there was usually someone around to have fun with. One of our favorite activities was making golden rod huts late in the summer when the plants were tall and plentiful. We would bend over and tie the tops together then weave other gold rod around from top to bottom making splendid structures. Of course no play time was complete unless there was rougher stuff which included making spears out of the golden rod and throwing them at each other.
Somewhere in life there is a balance between work and play. As a child it seems like we weren’t allowed to play very much but instead worked most of the time. As an adult I understand that I need to work but tend to be a bit of a big kid still trying to make up for the fun I did not have as a kid.
It makes me wonder if my new found love of camping isn’t somehow rooted in my childhood, making those golden rod huts and playing outside. I like to make campfires and setup tents and cook on an open fire. It is fun and makes me feel like a kid all over again. Now if I could just find a stream to dam up…..