When I was young my brother and I would often venture into the woods, to a little creek (or “crick” as we called it); there we would remove our shoes and socks and venture into the muddy water. We were on a hunt, for tadpoles that we could take home, so that we could watch them grow and become … dead, because they never survived our shoddy attempts at nurturing them into frogs.
The best joy of all of this was on warm summer days, feeling the cool mud sink between our toes. It was like some sort of poor man’s mud bath, the rich paid big bucks to get a mud bath like this, but we didn’t know that, we were just kids, enjoying nature.
As I got older I ventured further from home, to Neshaminy Creek (correctly pronounced as “creek” now). Still venturing to the edge of the muddy water, but usually keeping my shoes on. I no longer felt the cool mud as my feet sank between my toes, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I no longer feared my mother’s wrath when I came home with muddy shoes. Oh, she would still be angry, but I was a teenager and I knew more than she did, or so I thought.
Now I bring you to present day, sort of, well, yesterday. In a pair of week old mesh sneakers I jumped into my Chevy Malibu and headed about 8 miles north of town to pick up the girls. There’s no creek there, no river to mention, just farm fields and houses, and the great spring thaw.
How glorious is the great spring thaw after a harsh Michigan winter? Only as glorious as you allow it to be!
A left hand turn into the driveway of the home where my children were visiting led me into an unforeseen (at least by me) abyss of mucky black mud, and the old Malibu reveled in it, axle deep. I should have scolded Molly Malibu that there are no tadpoles there, no friends to cut school with, there was nothing worth getting the mud between my toes. However, Molly, even though she is an automobile is about 14 years old, just at the age where she knows more than me. And so, I sat, for a few seconds I tried to get out, tried forward and back, seeking solid ground with the rubber Good Year’s, but in the country, in Michigan, there’s no such thing as solid ground, everything is just one great big mud puddle, every single spring.
So there I sat, as the female home owner ran toward me with an already muddy shovel. “Ah,” I said, “I see I’m not the first.” I smiled at the thought of her being readily prepared for some city slicker to get stuck. (You can take the girl out of the city, but ya can’t teach her how to drive anywhere else.)
I stood back and allowed her to shovel as I nervously wondered if I called my husband would he even hear the phone ring? He had headed to bed just before I left, he was exhausted and I had a strong feeling the phone would not wake him, and that left me feeling more stuck than Molly’s wheels, axle deep, in the muddy waters of this driveway.
The home owner called her neighbor who came to rescue this old city girl … with a tractor. I watched as he got down on his knees in the black mud, only then did I realize the depth of mud that was rushing through the mesh in my sneakers and leaving me chilled to the core. “Thank you,” I told him, but somehow it just seemed insufficient.
Plucking me out of that deep, thick mud left me relieved, but now I had to get my girls to the car, which now sat in the middle of the road, flashers glaring an angry reflection on the muddy waters that Molly was no longer sinking in. The girls got in and I sped away, partly from embarrassment, and partly because I was blocking traffic.
Funny, when I was young, getting muddy always got me into trouble with Mom, but the fun outweighed the trouble. When I was a teenager muddy water meant good times, good friends, and good memories. Now, mud just sucks me in and it takes a good neighbor and his tractor to get me out. So, I want to know, who in the hell took all the fun out of muddy waters???