Ever since my first grandson was born, we have celebrated late spring
with park walks until his third summer. Then we had creek walks the
past five years!
We were a little less enthusiastic about bringing his little brother along!
Last summer, I went to his father’s house and picked up only Skyler,
avoiding even seeing those longing eyes or begging lips of his younger
That was our last late spring/early summer creek walk alone. We had crossed
the “creek” (a narrow strip of the Olentangy River that runs through Delaware)
by Mingo Park, looking for our usual creatures and things. Sky and I balanced
ourselves on a log placed across part of the creek. We found some clam shells
and little snail shells along with seeing some mallard ducks and a heron. We
looked for the bugs under the rocks, little worms and crawdads, too.
This year we determined Micah, otherwise known as “Wild Thing,” could
join us on our creek walk. Both boys were fed, put in old, ‘beat up’ clothes,
while wearing their swim shoes. We went to Blue Limestone Park, got out
with two towels thrown over my shoulder. Snacks, flip flops and wipes left
in the car for after the walk. We looked for crawdads (do you call them
“crayfish?”), frogs, minnows, and other unusual things. We found what we
believe were raccoon footprints in the bank’s mud. We also found three red
cardinal feathers, which I told my grandsons meant we were going to have
a lucky day!
We found two walking sticks and proceeded along the side where there is a
wider cement walkway under the railroad trestle. It is such a big arch that
usually I am very pleased with photos taken of children under it, while there
is a bright, fresh green sight at the end of the “tunnel.”
Micah loved walking in the water! He is fearless, it doesn;t matter how deep
it is he wants to wade in almost to his chin! I had mentioned I had one more
week where I could not get my ear wet so no splashing me above the waist.
Micah found the best fun was “stirring the pot” his expression, which meant
he was taking the nice, clear water and stirring his big stick until the water
was muddy. Skyler found about 6 living crawdads and about a dozen that
were the dead shells floating in a bunch. We tried to figure out why this
happened. Were they all eaten by an animal? Were the carcasses left over
from last Fall or Winter’s chilly weather?
Skyler made us all proud by getting a 99% in the National Testing for Second
Graders. (Not really the name of the test, but my oldest daughter could not
remember the name of it!) He asks a lot of questions and I just showed him
the plaque with the flag that traveled around the world on the Columbia. He
is convinced he can be like his Great Grandpa Oldrieve. I am hoping he will
stay interested in science and maybe, choose to be a researcher, doctor or
as he wishes, Astronaut!
The best part for all three of us, was running into two other groups, fellow
creek walking travelers. A threesome that included a 41 year old father with
his son and daughter. His daughter talked to Skyler and they stopped to tell
what they had seen. His children were on a bike hike the father said, when
the daughter’s bike got a flat, so they switched plans.
They “shucked” their shoes on the bank of the creek. Their father took several
pictures of his children. I chatted with him, saying I had been coming here
since my children were young, we used to bring buckets to catch tadpoles or
frogs. The father said that when he was young, his mother would give him
a net or he would put holes in his bucket to catch crayfish. Both of his kids
were surprised I was the boys’ grandmother. The Dad told us his age and I
said I was over 16 years older. Could be his very young mother. We laughed.
He said his high school friends used to get beer and go party by Blue
The second group had some fishing poles, a teenager, two parents and a
toddler. They were allowing the teenager in the water but struggling with
keeping the toddler out of the water. They were holding him letting him
reach the branches of the trees and giving him rocks to throw into the creek.
We had a conversation about how I was able to bring Skyler to the creeks
around the county because he was cautious and would not try to jump or
move forward away from me. He listened so well that I brought him short
of his third birthday, (he would have turned 3 that November) while Micah
had to wait until he was over four years old. Personalities can make a big
difference in how children show readiness for experiences.
When we had sufficiently looked at fields of tall grass, the two quarries, and
walked a long length of the creek, we chose to get out of the water and go to
the car. We took off our wet shoes and wiped our hands on wipes, put on our
flip flops and more sunscreen. We went to the playground over a hill and across
the parking lot. We sat at a picnic table and ate hull-less butter popcorn puffs.
We drank water and went to play until the boys’ clothes were dry and Mommy
had called to say she was home, showered and had started dinner.
I was blessed with an older daughter who always sends with me home a warm
plate of food. She put 2 nicely baked oatmeal, coconut and pecan cookies with
I felt like I had had a day with the Wild Things! At the end of the children’s
book, remember when Max comes back from “Where the Wild Things Are?”
The last line says something like, “And his supper was still warm.”
That was fortunately me! After I put the plate in the microwave, I cleaned up
and put my pajamas on.
I sat down to a warm, home-cooked and yummy Sunday dinner.