A Girl Can Dream, Can’t She?

Categorized as 01/28/07 Goshen News article

We’re in the middle of another Indiana snowstorm. Not a blade of grass is showing and if you’re like me, you’re getting plenty tired of battling frostbite in all regions (nether and otherwise) every time you go out to get the mail. I know it’s a long way ‘til spring, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

As I mentioned in a prior column, we have an old farm house (yikes) with three wonderful acres (yippee). Please indulge me as I look out the window and think summery thoughts and warm up with memories of what goes on here when the world is warm.

Last summer we did something different. Over Memorial Day weekend, we set up the tent and left it up until after Labor Day. With a picnic table, trampoline, swing set, tire swing, horse swing, fire pit, lawn chairs, and bikes galore, it looked like a virtual KOA campground.

The two middles spent countless happy hours in that tent, schlepping back and forth with sleeping bags and pillows. The nine year old, our electronics genius, was the one who strung a long extension cord out from the house so they could listen to Adventures in Odyssey CDs night after night. It was Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer all over again, living off the land – or wait, I mean snacks they’d filched from the pantry.

When my family came up in July, the boys and their cousins nearly wore the trampoline to shreds. Every evening we ate around the campfire, chatting long into the night while the kids went from the tramp to milling around in the tent with flashlights to the tramp again. They ate s’mores by the fire and played hide and seek before retiring to the tent for their nightly entertainment, “Silly Songs with Jamison.” The bullfrogs sang them to sleep.

See that garden over there? That is where, according to author Kevin Leman’s methods, much self-esteem has been built in our progeny; i.e., hoeing, tilling, and weeding. I’d be a liar if I said the Schrock boys are always overjoyed to have their self-esteem fostered. They aren’t. But it really does ramp up the excitement level when you’re digging in the garden and you find what you’re pretty sure is an arrowhead and then you start to wonder if there might be a real Indian buried there and you dig and dig and dig until suddenly you’ve forgotten you’re actually working. (Yes, this really happened.)

Speaking of that garden, it was, unfortunately, the scene of a lively chase one day last summer wherein one of Grant’s sons (he gets full custody in such cases) discovered the use of the mower as a get-away vehicle.

Those three acres? They require mowing, you see, and the one who was supposed to be mowing was in the house instead, taking a long, leisurely lunch. After repeated admonitions to get back to work with no response, I simply availed myself of a resource I call “God’s Hammer (his big brother)” in order to get the recalcitrant little groundskeeper back out the door. I looked out the window just in time to see “The Hammer” in hot pursuit as a red fishing hat atop an orange mower went streaking toward the big, red barn.

Around the barn and through the garden he sailed with his cross-country-running brother right on his tailpipe. There was a struggle of epic proportions as his brother attempted to plant his cheeks on the seat, which he did, and gain control of the steering wheel, which he also did, but only after doing several loop-de-loops around the rhubarb. It was about here that “The Hammer” went to work with shouts of “Uh-oh!” and “Oh, no!” The “nail,” never being one to be shy or self conscious, expressed his discomfort in loud bellows.

“There goes the neighborhood,” I said to myself, half expecting a full-scale neighborhood evacuation.

Oh, and did I mention the would-be ninja who throws a grappling hook up in that tree over there and climbs to his heart’s content? Or the back forty out that way where the two middles have gone treasure hunting with a metal detector and have detected that, yes, they have a metal shovel and yes, there’s a metal snap on Kieran’s pants? They were stymied when the “treasure” kept moving around. Hee hee.

See, I’m feeling warmer already. Spring will come. It really will. As soon as it does, I think I’ll set a lawn chair under the maple tree and see if the neighbors start migrating back from wherever they all went. Wherever it was, I’ll bet it was boring – and quiet.

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