Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Rope and the River

I was just looking at some pictures a friend posted on Facebook, and saw a few of people swinging over a pool on a rope, and letting go. I was reminded of something I thought I would never forget.

One year, back in the early 70s, SSS and I were invited deep into rural Indiana (I think it was Indiana...could have been Illinois) for Thanksgiving with Scottlad. We were going to his grandmother's. It was a fun ride, with SSS driving our brand new van and Scott serenading us with his guitar. Scott persuaded SSS to let his girlfriend drive for a while, so then we had duets from the back seat.

Anyway, it was a lovely little house on a creek, and we wandered around in the cold while Scottlad told us of good times from his's where he caught his first fish, and there's where his brother did this, or his sister did that...and we came to a rope with a knot on the end, suspended from a tree limb, and hanging over the edge of the creek. Scott told us stories of summers spent swinging, splashing and swimming in the creek, and he invited SSS to take a swing on it. SSS demurred, citing the age of the rope. Scott then grabbed it and swung out over the creek and safely back to shore. SSS still refused. Scott did it again.

SSS grabbed the rope and swung out (clad in his lovely warm snorkel jacket with the furry hood) and, sure enough...the rope broke.

The beauty part was that I was standing where I got to see the look on SSS's face, and how it changed in the split second between when he realized the rope had broken, and when he hit the water. The very cold water, in rural Indiana, in November.

The Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, seasoned by seeing SSS across the table, dressed in Scott's deceased grandfather's clothes, while his own dried around the heater. And by everyone's chuckles that erupted every time anyone looked at him.

I wonder if he ever got to a place where that was funny for him.


  1. Wow! I have a lot of memories or swinging over creeks and letting go the rope to splash in when I was a kid, but never in the winter! Yikes! Sounds like a fun memory, Summer or Winter.