Rerun…Good memories of fun times when I was a kid in Murdo
Look what I found…
I made a playhouse where the Whitakers keep their garbage. They have a little building behind their house, which is across the street from us. I’ve played there a bunch of times already. It smells pretty bad in there; especially on hot days. I don’t spend much time inside of it anyway, because I go and visit my mom across the street. The first time I went to visit, I didn’t know what my name was. Mom said, “Well hello Mrs. Man. How are you today?” Right then I figured out Mrs. Man was a good name. Mom and I had a pretty nice little visit, and then I went back to the Whitaker’s garbage house and tried to straighten things up a little.
I didn’t have anything to sit on in the garbage house, so I went back over to Mom’s and knocked on the door.
She said, “Who is it?” I said, “It’s Mrs. Man. I came to see if you have any little kid chairs that I can use.”
She said, “There are two little kid’s folding chairs in my little girl’s bedroom. You can use them, but bring them back when you’re finished or Mr. Whitaker might burn them with his trash.” So that’s what I’ve been doing every day that I’m Mrs. Man.
Today, I asked Mom if she would like to come over to my house for coffee? She told me no! I was surprised that she said no like that. Mom loves to go have coffee with just about anybody. “Why don’t you want to come over for coffee,” I asked? “Well,” she said, “Because I don’t like rats, and where there’s garbage, there’s always rats.” I said, “Oh.” I thought about it for awhile, then I asked Mom if she would come with me to bring those chairs back that I had borrowed. I decided, since it was so hot, I wanted to open up a lemonade stand in front of OUR house.
Guess who my first customer was? It was Gail Whitaker. I wanted to visit with her since she bought my lemonade so I said, “Gail, do those rats that live in your garbage filled shed ever come into your house?” Gail told me she didn’t know about the shed, but she had never seen any rats or mice in her house.
I had to drink a lot of my lemonade because it was so hot outside. About the time I ran out, Mom said to close up because we were going to see Grandma Sanderson.
When we got to Grandma’s, I got some horehound candy to suck on and went out in the backyard. From there, I could see the little pond. Some of my cousins and a few other kids were playing in the water. I was really glad because the pond is fun and wading in it would make me cooler. We catch crawdads in the pond and cut off their heads and their legs and pretend to eat them. It takes a long time to get all the parts cut off just right. Suzanne Bork is the best at it.
Some of the older cousins built a raft kind of like Tom Sawyer’s. You can stand up on it and use a big stick to shove off. If there are two of us, we can use paddles, but the water isn’t deep enough to swim in. The bottom is slimy mud and when I walk in it, I can squish it between my toes. If we start early and have a lot of time, we can rub the mud all over our bodies and play like we’re in quicksand or use it to camouflage ourselves when we play like we’re hiding from the enemy.
There are all kinds of cattails and tall reeds in the pond. We can hide our raft in them when we’re playing like we’re pirates.
This isn’t the pond…This is the Dam east of Murdo where Pink Sandy taught us all how to swim.
I ‘m always afraid that I will get into some quicksand and it will suck me up before Lassie can get help, or someone with a rope and a horse can get there to pull me out.
I can always figure out things to do with just myself, but I like playing with all the kids south of 16 the best. Either way, there’s always someone or something imaginary around.
******************************Years later, my dad came back from California to visit me. I picked him up at the airport in Rapid City. On the way back to Murdo, he was asking me about different people he knew. He asked how our old neighbor Ruben Whitaker was doing. I said that Ruben had died a while back. Dad seemed pretty sad about the news.
The next day, he went to the Pioneer Auto Museum. When he came home, he said, “I went to see the Auto Museum today, and imagine my surprise when I ran into Ruben Whitaker. He works at the museum. I guess the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.” Almost every time I talked to Dad after that, he asked me how old Ruben Whitaker was doing.