Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cornfields and Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers once said, "Play is really the work of childhood." Growing up in the country my cousins and I were playing all the time. Not with toys, but outside, taking advantage of what nature provided us every season of the year. We never went to Disneyland. We never even thought to ask to go. Why would we. We had our own theme park. In the winter we'd be skating on the creek just out back and down the hill. It didn't matter how cold it was. That never stopped us. We'd even be down there skating at night. With the moon above and the stars glistening that was the best time of all to go skating on that old creek that turned into a waterway in the summertime-providing us even more fun as we'd guide our rafts made from telephone poles on endless adventures. It was named Sucker Creek for a reason. Whenever any of those suckers got on our rafts we'd take our steel poles used for steering the rafts and cast them back into the murky water.

Fall proved to be just as much fun especially with cornfields spreading out as far as we could see. It was the cornfield next to our grandparents' farmhouse that got most of our attention. Being little, it seemed massive. Once we entered it, we disappeared which is probably what we wanted to do so no adults could see us as we each found our spot and made homes in the corn. We'd move cornstalks aside-bring them down and then stomp on them until we felt we had enough space. Then we'd create a kitchen-a living room-a bedroom with a cornstalk bed. We'd play in the middle of the cornstalks for what seemed like hours. We'd visit each other. Create imaginary friends. We'd even spy on adults not too far away. Besides making our homes, we had fun just running through the field. We were making corn mazes long before it was a popular thing to do. Running as fast as we could, most times we'd keep our eyes shut and our heads down because the leaves on those stalks were sturdy. They'd whip us in the face-scratch us most anywhere we weren't covered up but that never stopped us. That was the price we had to pay for playing in those tall stalks with funny tassels at their tops waving in the breeze.

Our grandfather never said a thing about the crushed cornstalks in the middle of that field when it was time for harvesting them. But then, he never said a thing about our hosting circuses in the barn or sitting on his tractor and pretending to take it out back-down the hill-and across the plank bridge to the backfields. Maybe we amused him with our playing. Maybe he understood what Mr. Rogers was saying about Play. We certainly did. We were quite serious about our work no matter the season..

No comments:

Post a Comment