Friday, March 5, 2010

Remembering the "Wild Things"

My sister had told me it was a movie that I really needed to watch with my little brother.

“It’s a boy’s movie”, she said.

And she was right. As I sat and watched the DVD, I found myself laughing out loud and remembering my own childhood.

Building snow forts and making an arsenal of snowballs…ready for the next fight.

Sliding on my belly in the snow, believing that I must be invisible and able to sneak up on the enemy with my snowballs at the ready…not thinking about the bright colored snow coat that I was wearing.

Rolling down a hillside…head over tails…and laughing out loud when we got to the bottom.

Designing a “fort” in the dirt with the end of a pointed stick with the mandatory towers and “secret chambers”.

Having fights with dirt clods.

Picking teams between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”.

It was a “boy’s movie.” I don’t have a lot of really great memories of childhood. But watching a young boy in the movie “Where The Wild Things Are” helped me to remember some of the times that I spent with my brothers and sister as a young boy myself.

Times of playing in the freshly turned fields with the furrows of dirt and sod still moist and fragrant with a deep earthy smell. Remembering how angry dad was that we had moved some of those furrows out of their neat, parallel rows to make our forts, sometimes stacking several layers of sod on top of one another to give better protection from the dirt clods that would soon be flying our way.

I remember the times in the woods, climbing the cedar trees as we played hide and seek or cowboys and Indians. Watching my little brother Jeff in amazement as he would scurry up and down the trees more like a monkey than a boy. His apparent lack of fear as he would jump from limb to limb…from tree to tree. Whereas I would begin to shake if I got much higher than two or three limbs up off the ground, he would casually go to the top, even as the tree would begin to bend over under his weight.

“Zulu warfare” played in the wooded area down near the little creek. Each of us with long limbs torn from the nearest tree, our child-like imagination transforming them into carefully crafted “spears”, intent on impaling each other like the warriors on the African continent that gave name to our war games.

Dragging our snow sleds up the hill on the county road on cold winter days after a fresh snow before the gravel trucks came through to ruin the slope with coarse nuggets of rock that would slow our descent. First, the trip down the hill a couple of times with the toboggan to create a layer of packed snow and ice. Then we could begin to have the races on our sleds…each taking a running start and flying down the hill. At times, hand fighting each other and forcing the other off the bank…and on at least one occasion, into the creek below the bridge. After hours of play in the snow, the wet clothes would come off and a cup of hot chocolate would help to restore the heat to our bodies.

Sometimes, we need a reminder of the pleasant memories of our childhood. We need a trigger to refresh the stories of our past. We need to remember that it wasn’t all bad…that there were time of fun and laughter. Right now…I’m smiling as I remember.

Photo from Flickr

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

I love how you were able to write two completely different stories from one experience. I have really vivid memories of forts in the plowed fields and of sledding. I was, however, left out of Zulu warfare. Probably because you all knew I'd be throwing those spears for real.

A strong work ethic and a strong connection to all things wild - two gifts from childhood worth being grateful for.

Thank you for this beautifully written reminder.

I love you.