Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Ultimate Summer Adventure

Hi there! I’m B. and I write over at iCantbelieveable; but I’m thrilled and honored that Tricia is letting me hold her readers hostage as I occupy her space today! Thank you for reading! Here’s my tale of an amazing summer vacation:

It was 1995, the year that brought along some of the most amazing things. MTV was still showing music videos, some of the most incredible songs ever came out in 1995 and the year brought out some of the most memorable films. To summarize, 1995 was possibly the best year ever.
It’s no surprise, then, that I also had one of the best summer vacations that year. I was 11 years old and summer officially started in mid-June. My two sisters and I were already in full-swing summer mode within the first two weeks of being released from school. Per the rules of summer - we slept in late, got up in time to watch cartoons and game shows on television and then proceeded to play our SNES and Sega Genesis until a little after lunch which is also known to children as the perfect time to take a shower, get dressed and go outside. These are the rules, so we followed them.
Outside, we naturally gravitate towards where our bus stop usually is during the school year and meet up with all of our friends that live in the neighborhood. We brainstorm ideas on what we should all do. Having already watched TV, played video games and eaten food…the options were slim. Somehow a genius among us recommends we go walking around the neighborhood (in child language, we called it “going on an adventure”).

We decided an exploration seemed most suitable and my sisters and I rehashed a tale of a snake that was found in our backyard the summer before. My parents assumed the snake came from a ditch that ran on one side of our backyard and throughout the yards of all of the houses in our block. Naturally, we needed to explore the area, go through the break in the fence behind my house and follow the ditch to wherever more snakes were living. An adventure is not for the faint of heart, mind you – so the faint of heart all departed to their separate homes claiming “boredom” and just a handful of us brave souls set off for an exciting excursion into the deep, murky depths of the ditch alongside my house.
Outside of the potential snakes, this was a dangerous journey to start with, since the house directly behind mine belonged to an old couple and the man was particularly crotchety. He had a garden in his backyard and if we stepped foot on it, we would surely be eaten by his elusive wife (whom we never saw and imagined she was a dragon that feasted on little children).  We all hurried through the fence, ran fast past the old man’s garden (keeping an eye out for any smoke) and made it past his house and the next few houses quickly. We stayed along the side of the ditch for what seemed like hours until minutes later, we came across a creek. The storm water emptied into the creek a few blocks down. As we followed the creek, we could tell the water was getting a little deeper and more rocks were appearing along the creek, so we climbed up onto a grassy hill that ran along the right side of the water. At the top of the hill, a few feet above the creek water, we came up to what would change our summer forever.
 A fallen tree trunk served as a bridge between our hilltop and the opposite side of the creek, which was another grassy hill that backed up to someone’s large, wooden fence. Without discussion, we knew we had to cross the log bridge and get to the other side. The fate of our adventure depended on it! So, being the bravest of them all, I decided to go first. The log was huge and sturdy; but one glance down at the rushing creek water could cause even the surest foot a little uncertainty. I tried to take my time across, straddling the log between my legs and inching my way across as my sisters and friends cheered me on. When I was nearly to the other side, I stood up…tried to balance myself and took one step forward…all I needed was about three more steps and I’d be the first explorer to cross the creek and declare the other side my own. My Christopher Columbus moment was interrupted by the most menacing dog bark I’ve ever heard my whole life. Apparently, Cujo was living on the other side of the creek and we couldn’t see him (nor he us) due to the huge fence. But we definitely heard him! I was so startled I almost fell over into the creek; but luckily I regained my balance and jumped across to where Cujo was attempting to turn barking into an Olympic sport. I was relieved to find no break in THAT fence and assured the group that Cujo was all bark and no bite so they could venture over. Once everyone reached the other side, we continued to explore (trying to steer clear of Cujo’s fence). While the first part of the creek ran along a street, we discovered that the hilltop and log bridge were kind of tucked away beneath trees and not by too many houses. Basically, it was the perfect secret hideout for a bunch of kids during the summer and we were so happy we were the kids that discovered it! 
During our trip back home, the few of us decided to make a pact for the summer. The Creek was ours. All the other kids that failed to come with us on the adventure would surely want to know about the secluded oasis we found. But we didn’t want everyone to know about it. We pinky promised that we would keep this a secret and if we decided as a group that we’d like to add someone into our secret club, they would have to walk the creek.
For the remainder of the summer, we slowly began to add more kids into our fold. We enjoyed watching newcomers, as a form of initiation into our club, navigate the log bridge and nearly fall into the creek when Cujo “greeted” them (he never failed us). Only one boy fell into the water the whole summer; but we let him in the club anyway since it was so entertaining.
We spent the remainder of the summer dodging dragon ladies, hunting for snakes and walking the creek. We played freeze tag, listened to all the amazing music that came out that year on my walkman and talked about what we wanted to do when we grew older. The trips to the creek stopped when school began and the next summer wasn’t the same with everyone a little older and going off to different camps and family trips – but that summer back in 1995 was one of the most incredible and memorable summers of my life. It might not have been a long road trip, a camp experience or an exotic vacation – but it was one fun-filled summer!

Image Credit: Pic 1

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