Sunday, February 19, 2012
Don't Go Down To The Creek!
I've written before about how much fun my cousins and I would have playing down at the creek that flowed behind our houses out in the country. It didn't matter the time of year. We were always down there. I've written about the rafts our uncle made us out of telephone poles and how we'd go all over that creek pretending this or that. It was called Sucker Creek for a reason-there were blood suckers in it but it never kept us away. We just never swam in the murky water. In the winter we'd skate for hours-even at night under the moonlight. But it was one Saturday morning, as the hint of spring was in the air while snow was still covering the ground and the ice was still intact, that will forever remain my most poignant memory of those days down at the creek.
My mother asked me to watch my sister-who is seven years younger than me-as out the front door we went to play. I must have been around eleven years old at the time. Her last instructions were firm, "Don't go down to the creek. The ice isn't safe."
After being outside for a bit I heard some friends laughing and playing-down at the creek. I told my sister to follow me. Down to the creek we went. I wasn't going to actually go on the ice. I was curious. I wanted to know what they were doing especially since my mother said the ice was not safe. I remember standing with my sister on the creek bank watching them. They had their skates on. They were having fun. When they saw us standing there they waved us over. I said no-at first-but then that curiosity took over. I remember telling my sister to "stay right here. Don't go on the creek. I'll be right back."
I meant what I'd said. I thought I'd be right back but once I reached my friends I lost all track of the time-and my sister. Finally-finally I looked back where I'd left her-and she wasn't there. My first thought was that she'd gone back home and my mother would be running through the field after me. I knew I'd better leave. As I reached the point where I'd last seen her I heard water. Someone was splashing water. I looked around and saw my sister further down the creek. She'd fallen through the ice. She was trying desperately to keep her head above the water. One time she disappeared but came back up and grabbed hold of the ice. It kept breaking.
I screamed for my friends to help me. My sister was dressed in a heavy, woolen snow suit which added to the weight pulling her down. The closer I got the more the ice would crack so I decided to get down on my hands and knees and crawl towards her. One of my friends threw a limb to me as I edged my way forward. My sister went under again and that's when I went for her. I threw the limb aside and crawled at lightning speed. Reaching the dark hole I stuck my hands in and felt her. I pulled with all my might and soon out she literally popped. Taking my coat off I covered her up and carried her-not home-but to my grandmother's house next door. While she was frozen to the bone, my sister was awake and breathing.
Our grandmother stripped us down and covered us with warm woolen blankets in her bed. She gave us hot tea and hot cereal. Once she knew we were safe and sound she called our mother. The rest of this story you can only imagine!