The Rhythm of the Swing

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I did a double-take this morning when I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a child swinging on our well-worn swing set.  I tiptoed into the family room to see if my 18 year old granddaughter was still sleeping. She often comes in late after work and sleeps on our couch.  She was still fast asleep and doesn’t usually head to the swing anymore so I went back to the window and  recognized the daughter of someone who uses our machine shop to work on projects.

I watched her for a few minutes swinging rhythmically back and forth, and a thousand images filled my head.  When my oldest daughter was about two years old, my Mom and Dad purchased two metal swing sets.  One for my daughter and one for my niece who was just five months younger.  The swing sets were bright orange with two bright flat yellow plastic seats, a two person teeter-totter swing, and a metal slide.  I can still see Mom and Dad in their garage, unpacking two boxes full of swing set parts and nuts and bolts and pieces and parts.  When the frames were assembled, Mom and Dad, hauled them in the back of their pickup truck to each of their houses and set them up, adding the swings, and slide after it was delivered.

From  there the images changed to endless hours swinging toddlers until they fell asleep and could be carefully carried inside for a nap.  Later, when the toddlers grew they were able to swing themselves and learned to “pump” to get going and keep momentum.  Still there was always that cry, “push me! higher!”  When my son was born, one of the yellow swings was replaced with a bright blue baby swing….and the endless hours began again, this time with an older sister who could help  push.

By the time my third child arrived, the swing set was in risky condition.  One of the frames had bent and cracked and started to rust.  The paint was chipped and spots of rust had appeared.   We used it for awhile with a new baby swing but eventually it needed to be replaced with a wooden set that had a blue bucket type swing and a set of rings and an metal trapeze.  My third and youngest child spent more hours on the swing than  either of the older children.  I think it was a soothing place for them.  Before I knew it there were grandchildren swinging, another baby swing was brought in to replace the trapeze and we were back to the beginning again.

Fuzzier images then appeared going back at least 50 years.  A wooden swing hanging from a tree branch was a pleasant past time for me.  There was something special about a tree swing.  Not only did you get the back and forth movement, but you got a swaying and up and down movement from the tree branch.  And sometimes a creaking sound as the rope rubbed against the limb of the tree.  Tire swings came and went as well.  Its hard to picture our yard without some kind of a swing.

There is something soothing about a swing, whether you are the swinger or the swingee.  It can rock the baby to sleep, soothe the fussy toddler, and chase away boredom for an older child.  It can be a place of imaginary adventures when  a friend comes over to play.

For Christmas a couple of years ago I received a wooden swing with frame from my daughter.  I couldnt wait to set it up on the patio and enjoyed the familiar motion.  This summer we moved it out to the pond under a large shade tree.  A perfect place to  sit and swing and soothe and relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take me Back

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Take me back to growing up on the farm

Where chores were part of daily life and freedom to roam and play was the norm.

When Sunday School was never missed and going to school was an adventure.

When junior high awkwardness and “fitting in” was everything, and high school  cockiness, maturity and confidence followed.

Let me return to my college dorm, my first taste of freedom, where the biggest worries were matching bedspreads and cramming for exams, or whether I had enough cash for chili and grilled cheese at the Union.

Take me back to my wedding day, where after 4 long years we could finally be together,  to the early years  where grocery bills were twenty dollars a week, and friends came to visit with cheap wine and folding chairs.

Take me back to my first job which became a thirty-four year career and where (almost) every moment was enjoyable and fulfilling.

Take me back to my first pregnancy, followed by a lost little one, followed by two more ending happily. Let me return to watch them grow. Feeling joyful, fearful, guilty, unsure about parenting, realizing my attempts were well-meaning but not perfect.

Take me back to those simpler times

Times which rushed by too quickly

let me return to  knowing that I need to enjoy each simple moment as it happens.

Take me back.

 

Three Thoughts

In a very late response to the challenge posed by Margo at https://theothersideof55.wordpress.com/ I’m posting my answers (three for each question) to this meme:

Three names I answer to:

  1. Ruth
  2. Grandma
  3. Mrs. Crates

Three places I’ve called home:

  1. Vanlue Ohio
  2. Forest Ohio
  3. Kenton Ohio (all 3 places within a 40 mile radius)

Three places I’ve worked:

  1. growing up on our family farm
  2. Kenton City Schools
  3. Crates Excavating (our family business)

Three things I love to watch:

  1. My granddaughters and grandson
  2. the view from my kitchen window
  3. my friends spending time with me

Three things I love to eat:

  1. Pizza
  2. Hot soup on a cold day
  3. Bread

Three things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Trip to visit my youngest child
  2. Granddaughter’s graduation
  3. every day

 

Three fond memories:

  1. my mother cooking for holiday meals
  2. meeting my husband
  3. births of my children and grandchildren

Three bloggers I follow who might like to play along too:

  1. Marilyn at https://babyjill7.wordpress.com/
  2. ksbeth at https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/
  3. https://grandmalin.wordpress.com/ at breathing space

The Easter Dress

 

 

 

In the early 1960’s, when I hit the preteen years, Easter became about fashion.  For weeks before Easter, I would search through the Sears and Roebuck catalog to look at the latest fashions.  There was a children’s section and those pages became well worn and dogeared.  I seldom got the dress that I really wanted because I seemed to develop expensive tastes in clothing at that age and we were not an expensive family.  My mother always looked for bargains and clearance items (although they were not called that back then).  One year I gazed longingly at a lovely gauzy dress featured in the catalog. It was satiny with cap sleeves.  But the skirt… oh! the skirt was colored like a rainbow with wide panels of gauzy material overlayed in lovely pastels of pink, orange, turquoise, and yellow.  It screamed Easter Sunday every time I looked at it. 

I didn’t get the dress, no matter how much I pleaded and begged.  But I did get a nice little yellow cotton dress with eyelet cutouts around the neckline.  Suitable for wearing to school after Easter was over, which the gauzy dream dress was not.  I was disappointed but as my mother always said,  “Beggars cant be choosers.” 

Imagine my surprise when on Easter Sunday, one of the girls in my Sunday school class arrived in the dream dress.  It was just as beautiful as I imagined it would be and I was jealous.  I sat next to her and smoothed out my cotton dress with last years gloves, and pulled up my old Sunday school socks (the anklets with lace around the top that you folded over) noticing that this girl with the dream dress was wearing nylon hose!  I hadn’t even considered nylon hose.  I knew what my mother would say about that.  Besides, what good were nylon hose if you weren’t allowed to shave your legs yet? Nylon hose just smashed  down all the hair on your legs and looked weird. 

As Sunday School class began, another girl entered the room and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  She, too, was wearing the dream dress.  My eyes grew big, because even at the ripe old age of 11, I knew that wearing the same dress as someone else was just…..the end.  The two girls looked at each other and glared.  My eyes grew big as I waited to see what would happen. 

Well, nothing much happened at all.  After all,  it was Sunday School and we were on our best behavior.  There was more glaring between the two girls.  The girl who arrived second found a seat in class at the far end of the room as far from the other girl as she could.  

And I sat there very lady-like, smoothing out my  one-of-a-kind yellow cotton dress with last year’s gloves. And maybe I had just the hint of a smirk on my face.

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Pride

Sweat saturated my lashes.  I blinked away salty tears,  but still couldn’t see. Stumbling toward the spindly tree, I fell forward , caught myself before hitting the sizzling pavement, and landed on the scorched, crunchy grass.

“Is this what you are searching for?”

A tall, cool shape in flowing robes held out a clear glass dripping full of ice above my head.  I reached out, collided with the arm, and the liquid disappeared into the grass.

My voice failed.  I nodded.

‘You are too careless. Not deserving.”

I rose and found the energy to shout, ‘Ma’am, I am a garbage collector!”

 

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photo credit Emmy L Gant

Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle can be found at this link.

https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/11-march-2016/

I’ll try Anything

When Ruth turned sixty-five, she noticed some subtle changes.  Time got away from her, energy levels dropped, and her memory wasn’t sharp.  She knew it was part of the aging process, but she didn’t like it.

She tried herbal remedies and vitamins. She sent for all the latest treatments advertised on TV to fight the problem.  She ate healthy foods, lost some weight, exercised several times a week, but there was little change.

As a last ditch effort, she decided to try the latest Facebook craze.  They were a little hard to swallow but at last she thought she felt more energetic.

 

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Sean Fallon (photo credit)

Read more stories about this photo prompt at this link
https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/4-march-2016/

One More Time

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photo credit: Al Forbes

The line of traffic waiting for the ferry was  long. Glenn squirmed in his seat and leaned out the window, trying to see if anything was moving ahead. The sky was blue and the air was fresh, but all he could smell was exhaust fumes.

He looked across the seat at his wife, Marjorie, asleep with her head thrown back against the headrest.  She was still the prettiest girl he knew, even after 60 years of marriage.  She sensed his watchful gaze and smiled that smile.  The one he had fallen for.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’ll make it….one last time.”

 

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This week’s story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wysoff-Fields.  Read more stories about the photo prompt here:

https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/26-february-2016/