Cap guns, Yo Yos, Marbles and all that and then some…

photo11It is spring again in Greenwood Center. Winter has shed its icy cloak and changed to a dress of green. My grandfather Martin’s apple tree is full of blossoms and one can smell the perfume from his pasture into our front yard.

The dirt is back, the grass is back and everyone and every thing seems to take on a new life. My cousins and I crouch in the dirt by the side of the road with our marbles. I am not sure if we have any special rules, but I love the colors and really want to win the pretty marbles, big or small. I have a tiny bag that I keep the marbles in and draw the string really tight to make sure they stay there until the next time my knees are dirty from the ditch.

We don’t worry much about traffic. There are cars, but mostly when the mill gets out and people are coming home from work. By that time, we are all back in our front yards and completing chores before the parents arrive. 

There are a few kids at school with yo-yos.  Now I really , really want one and I know pretty well that I will never be able to “walk the dog” or any of the tricks that some of the boys can do, but it seems like a challenge. 

I did a little baby-sitting,saved my money and I now have a genuine Duncan Yo-Yo. It is yellow with soft brown streaks through it. I practice upstairs on my side of the attic and yes, eventually I make it go up and down quite nicely but occasionally the string hangs down and I have to wind the whole thing up again. I am beginning to think that Yo-Yos are highlyover-rated unless someone is really coordinated and skilled.

There is one thing I love to do and Ma does not like it and says it is dangerous. I think she says that because the noise gets on her last nerve. We buy caps in little rolls and lay them out on flat rocks and then take a rock and hit the little black dot…some make more noise than others. I know they are supposed to go in a cap gun, but we don’t have one, so this is the next best thing. Ma says we are never to point a gun at another person…not even a toy gun. She says it is dangerous and if we point a toy gun, then some day if we have a real gun, we will forget and still point it in the wrong direction.

After Memorial Day, we get brave and decide to test the waters of Twitchell Pond. Curt and I put on our suits and up the road we go, barefoot and all, walking in the ditch. Ouch! Our feet are tender from wearing shoes all winter, but by the end of the summer, the bottoms of our feet are tough like old leather and nothing bothers them..well the hot tar is something we kind of skip and hurry on, but rocks just bounce off them. When we get to the field that Grammy owns, we scurry across the path to the little beach. We scurry because there are rumors there is a huge milk adder snake in that field and I am not about to linger one tiny second . I hate snakes.

Ace will be coming with his milk truck as soon as a few summer residents appear and we cannot wait for some ice cold strawberry milk again!! That will be another month at least and after school lets out.

That is another thing. I think school should stop the minute the weather starts getting nice. No one can think if the window is open at school and you can hear the birds singing and a warm breeze is coming in to flutter the papers on our desk. There are those teachers that will take us outside for a class and we sit on the grass in the school  yard. I think the weather has got to them as well, and they are tired of smelling oily floors and chalk dust! That’s another thing!  Now that the ground is dry, we can all take our brown bags out and sit in the school yard to eat our lunch. There is a dog belonging to someone in the village who comes each noon and goes from one of us to the other gathering scraps and wagging his tail. His name is Sandy and we look for him every day.

It is so nice to feel warm again after the awful cold of the winter. I run across to Gram Martin’s and sit on the porch while she mends and we visit. She tells me if her hens are laying or not and if we have to collect eggs.

On the week-ends, Ma hoes around her delphiniums and Sweet Williams. There isn’t much room for a flower garden,b ut she does love the little plot she has. I have some hens and chickens that Gram gave me..those are sweet little plants and Ma has an iris that Uncle Elmer gave her so we do have a little color at the side of the yard.

My pet rooster was killed over the winter. Last fall, Ma took him to Grampa Libby’s to live as we had no place for him to keep warm. Mr. Rooster always rode on my shoulder and we walked around the yard looking grand. Curt has a fear of birds..domestic birds I guess…and he did not like Mr. Rooster at all. One day I was feeling mean and chased Curt, with Mr. Rooster on my shoulder, clear to the main road. The next day, Mr. Rooster went to Grampa’s to live…Ma said, for the winter, but I knew better. Anyway, long story short, she announced that a coon came in over the winter and bit his head off. I did not want Mr. Rooster to come to that kind of a death and had hoped he could come back for more shoulder riding this summer. Ma said he was better off dead as he was of no use to anyone except for scaring kids. I got her meaning without asking any questions.

I love spring in Greenwood Center where it seems like a different world than the months we have just endured. There is one down side to it all and that is the dreaded black flies. The air is black with them, but you just have to remember to put on some of Dad’s “fly dope” and you’ll be fine…well almost fine.

Getting up every day to see a beautiful blue pond, apple blossoms, smell the tar warm from the sun…who could ask for anything more?


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