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CJ Heck

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Rockland
By CJ Heck   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Ahhh, childhood ...

I was thinking this morning that I should go to the basement today and bring up our window air conditioners. Summer is fast approaching ... and so is the heat.

Then it occurred to me, why is it that the heat didn't seem to bother me as much when I was a child? It's the same heat. Hot is hot, no matter how old you are ... but as a child, I remember it was a non-issue -- it didn't matter. It was summer and summer was supposed to be hot. Maybe as children we just had other things on our minds, so many things that we loved doing, things that took precedent over having a few pesky sweat beads running down our faces.

The six of us kids used to love being at Grampa and Gramma Shannon's in the heat of the summer. We loved splashing in the river to stay cool, or fishing out in the boat, where the cool breezes seemed to live, but there was one special place we all loved more than anything else. We named it "Rock Land".

I'll tell you about it, but first, you have to picture the area. Grampa and Gramma's cottage sat just above the river and the dirt road winding along the river, at the very bottom of a huge -- I mean HUGE -- hill. The hill was nearly straight up and forested with ancient trees and large boulders to climb on, around, and under.

We used to love exploring the hill and pretending. Well, about three quarters of the way up to the very top one day, we found a whole grouping of these enormous house-size boulders. They were situated in such a way that they even had caves under some of them.

I remember we had such a ball pretending we were Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie or indians and creating the most wonderful scenarios ... then one of us noticed something at the top of one of the boulders. There were all of these thick grape vines hooked to the trees above and hanging down, dangling over the edges of the boulders. You could grab hold of a vine with both hands and swing way, way out, almost to forever ... holy crap!

What a thrill it was to already be high up on top of a boulder and then swing way out over the downside of the hill below. There was nothing like it -- I know it was the nearest thing to heaven that I had ever been. It was our own magical kingdom, a place to climb up to from that day on.

Even after we went back home, we talked about it and planned out new adventures for the next time we went to Grampa and Gramma's house. As far as I can remember, we only had one major accident there. My cousin, Bill, who was my big brother, swung out one day and right into a big hornet's nest -- all of us learned, first-hand, what the expression, "mad as a hornet" meant -- it was also the first time I heard my cousin use cuss words ... but we won't talk about that.

Anyway, those hornets all flew out at once and bombarded poor Bill so badly that he let go of the grapevine and fell head over heels down the hillside ... he broke his arm, too! That wasn't fun at all and we boycotted Rock Land for a few weeks ... but just a few.

Yeah, hot is hot, no matter how old you are ... but when you're a kid and it's summer and school is out, life can be so grand. We did have other things on our minds and there was always so much to do. We greeted every day with joy and wonder, simply glad to be alive ... of course, my bones, muscles and joints didn't complain at all back then.

... and now, at my age, I thank technology, for air conditioning.

Web Site: Barking Spiders Poetry for Children



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