When I was a little girl, I lived in the tiny town of Allen, Texas with my mother, father, and brother, Jacob. It was just a little country town on the highway north of Dallas back then. Every evening, my mother would take us for a walk along the trails behind our house. We lived in a new housing edition and there was nothing for miles behind our house. At least it seemed like miles. I was around 5 years old, so it might not have actually been miles. The walks would include me, my mother, and my brother. Mom always said that she wanted to take a walk after work because she had to sit all day at work. So, after dinner, out we would go. We had some great adventures and my mother is AMAZING with children. She would often have us pick up “daggers” along the way to ward off any creatures we might find along our path. The daggers were really just little sticks that fit nicely in our hands. It was actually a valid concern because we once ran across an armadillo. Jacob was 2 1/2 at the time and completely enamored with the He-Man series. Jacob was actually wearing his He-Man cape and carrying his plastic He-Man sword at the time and when the armadillo crossed the path ahead of us, Jacob charged after him!
Mom would also take us on walks on the weekend when she had had enough of my father. (They’re divorced and 25 years later, there are still hard feelings. The end on that.) I don’t remember who was at the house that weekend, but we had a couple of extra kids tagging along on our adventure. We followed a different route because we had plenty of daylight. Mom had learned her lesson about Jacob and plastic swords, so we all picked up wooden “daggers” early in the walk. Once we got out of the neighborhood and near the creek, we found a momma snake in a nest covering up her eggs. She wasn’t happy that we were intruding upon her house. In all fairness, her nest was in the middle of the foot trodden path. Mom, always the adventurous one, picked us up one by one while straddling the snake’s nest and told us to pick up our feet as she threw us over the nest. Our walk would not be deterred by a pesky little snake. The snake seemed pretty large at the time, but my Mom was only 5’3″ at the time, so it couldn’t have been that big, could it? At the end of the walk, we crossed a bridge over the creek and threw our daggers in it. We knew we would be able to find another dagger on our next walk.
When I told Ed about those walks years later, he told me that the paths were probably made by wild hogs. I think he was making that up to scare me. We never saw any wild hogs.
So the weather was finally nice enough here a few days ago for me to take my boys for a walk around my neighborhood. We live smack dab in the middle of town, so there aren’t many paths through the forest that we can walk through, but we have pretty streets with lots of trees. Big, old trees often lose branches. When the boys asked me if they could pick up sticks to take with them, I smiled and said yes. I let them run wild with stories for their sticks. Whoever was in front was king, the boy following was the knight, and I was queen. (I didn’t go into the impossibilities of that relationship. At least they know I’m the queen.) They would take turns pushing each other out of the way so each one could be king. And, they can walk a mile without begging to be carried!!
We took pictures of the sticks after we got home so we could show Oma what their swords looked like. Next time, they will have to be thrown in the creek by our house, just to see how far they can be thrown.