Friday, October 15, 2010

Sucker Creek

I grew up along Sucker Creek-a meandering little beast that overflowed its banks in the spring and became an outdoor skating rink in the winter. It was an all-season playground for me and my cousins. Our Uncle Paddy who just turned eighty this past July and is still a kid at heart built us rafts out of telephone poles. There were two rafts; one for the boys; one for the girls. All summer long we'd board our rafts; then steer our way around the creek by prodding a long steel pole down to the creek bed and then back up then down again-over and over while fighting off pirates or traveling to the ends of the earth-or at least the opposite shore. Whenever a bloodsucker found its way onboard, we'd swipe it off with our pipe and continue on. We could never swim in Sucker Creek. I don't remember ever wanting to.

Spring's awakening brought overflowing banks and miniature icebergs crashing into one another. I loved their moaning sounds; twisting and shoving their way down Sucker Creek. From our kitchen window we'd watch beaver and muskrats ride those frozen pieces until they disappeared around the bend.

Still to this day biting into an apple brings me back to those breathtaking autumn days by the creek. In a matter of minutes getting off the school bus we'd be down at the creek with apples in our pockets.It always seemed we'd just gotten there that we'd be called back home for dinner.

Despite the cold and wind we'd spend hours at the creek shoveling-then skating. Winter was my favorite season. It still is. There were places where we could look straight down through the ice into the eerie yet spectacular underwater world of reeds and grasses suspended in time. Some evenings my cousin and I would lie atop the ice under silver stars; dreaming and talking.It was just as much fun when it was snowing. We'd lie in a nearby field making snow angels-doing the same. On days off we'd pack a lunch and skate up the creek as far as we dared to go. Hot chocolate was always a treat when we returned home.

Life was a treat along the banks of that rambling stream-providing young imaginations a stage no matter what the season.

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