Category Archives: Mingo Park

Creek Walking

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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

brother.

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

Limestone lake.

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

the package!

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.