Monday, February 29, 2016

Button, Button, Who Has the Button

            Last night as I crawled into bed and was wondering what I should write about for my blogspot, my eyes fell on the old Ball canning jar filled with buttons, sitting on the top of my chest of drawers and it gave me ideas about some nostalgia that I could share. The jar itself is large, approximately one and a half quarts and the glass aged, no longer completely clear. It is topped by one of the zinc lids. Inside of it are a myriad of buttons of all different colors and shapes. Many are antiques, passed down in the family to the following generations. Some are new, either bought for a sewing project and never used, while others have been carefully removed from garments that were worn beyond use. Many of these tiny clothing fasteners were toys that kept many grandkids amused for hours, struggling to put them on a string in just the right order. Or when several children gathered, grandma would start the game, “Button, button, button, who’s got the button?”
            My grandmother kept her buttons in a metal tin, like many of you do, but I put mine in a jar to display the beauty. Like a kaleidoscope, if I get tired of the pattern or wish to see different buttons, I can rotate the jar and instantly my view has been changed. Many of the colors are subdued, white, gray, black, or brown, but even those hues vary. Pops of color, reds, blues, clear rhinestones, polished brass and silver play hide and seek. Some buttons have two holes pressed through their body while an equal number sport four holes. Then there are buttons that have no holes in their body, but are flat buttons that have a single hole attached and protruding from their backsides. There are a few from my Naval uniforms, dark blue with the anchor design pressed in them.
            There is at least one furniture button covered in a coarse, brown nylon material from a couch my mom and dad had when I was a kid. Many of the buttons were old before I was born and many of the buttons bring back memories. Some are plain white or black and were removed from shirts or pants. I’m sure that they have stories to tell, but common ones about work and play.
            I have tried to share my thoughts of the beauty I find in the simple, common things that so often we overlook. Instead of saving these memories of metal, plastic, wood, and even ivory, we simply toss then away, used, forgotten, and of no consequence.          

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Common Denominator

            I just saw a post that said Donald Trump was blasting the GOP for “not treating him or the people that he represents right.” Like I told my son, “life isn’t always fair” and if Trump is whining about others in the GOP, what will happen if another world leader pushes his button?
            I don’t usually let my blogs wander into the political, but I have to speak out. It isn’t just about Donald Trump, but I have something against most of the politicians that are vying for the presidency of the United States. Each candidate has speaking points, points of view, and has learned the vocabulary that potential voters want to hear. Whether it is Bernie Sanders with his repeat promises of “a chicken in every pot,” but for free or Hillary’s promises to reunite the country, just as Barack Obama promised in his speeches. (I’ll allow you to decide whether he has accomplished this goal.)
            Trump is promising prosperity for all and jobs for everyone, including those who don’t want to work and who persist on making a career out of public assistance. (Perhaps he will employ them on building the fifty feet tall wall on our southern border.) Cruz and Rubio rhetoric has been just slightly less deep on the promises, but all have the learned words that their followers want to hear.
            The one thing I have found is that they all have in common is that they have lost touch with the hard working “common” men and women. They wield these welcoming words and phrases around like a Samurai sword, brandishing them like a battlefield banner and yet they have little to no idea of the meaning of the words. The terms that they bandy about are merely empty shells without any meat or substance, something that their speech writers have pulled form a recipe book.
            The only person that I believe is still close enough to understand people in general is Dr. Ben Carson. Ask any nurse, nursing assistant, physician, or emergency personnel that have to deal with healing, comforting, and dying on a daily basis and they will explain fully what is in the hearts, minds, and souls of the “common” folk.
            Sometimes, I am afraid for the future of our nation, if these are the best men or women to be found for president of our nation, our Commander-in-Chief, and the leader of the free world. I am so weary of the promises made, by both parties. More good men and women need to rise up, make the politicians and bureaucrats accountable for their words, actions, and deeds, and to secure this land of freedom for future generations.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

School Days

            Several days ago, I posted on Face Book a black and white photograph of the fire that consumed the old Poplar Run School. A huge column of black smoke rose as the tar paper roof melted and burned. The building was located between Normalville and Indian Head, Pennsylvania where the Poplar Run Road intersected with Route 711.
            The one room, white washed clapboard school building wore a hand hewn sandstone block foundation. Eight steps made of the same stone were inserted into the earthen bank to allow easy access to the hollow where the school was nestled.
            There was just enough room for the teacher to park her car on the berm and still permit the flow of traffic on Route 711. Every weekday, Miss Ora Woomer would descend those stairs and open up the school. Cold days she would start the fire in the pot bellied stove and on warn days, she would raise the windows to allow the air to circulate and cool the uninsulated building.
            Ora was a roly-poly short statured woman with close cropped gray hair, wearing glasses only when she was in the classroom. The heels of her black lace up shoes would tap as she crossed the wooden floor.
            To one side of the school was the coal and kindling shed. It was the responsibility of the older boys to keep the coal scuttle filled and that there was kindling to start the fire for the next morning. At the rear of the building were the two privies, little more than latrines. There was one for the girls and one for the boys. Peeping was discouraged, but it didn’t always deter the more ambitious.
            Recess was always a much anticipated event where the boys would disappear into the woods that surrounded the school lawn. It was mostly a game of cowboys and Indians. Occasionally, someone would get tied to a tree, unable to respond to the bell announcing that recess was over. When Ora would discover that a child was missing, she would send out a search party, extending recess for nearly another hour, until the “lost” child could be found.
            All of these stories were shared with me by the neighbor boys. If the Poplar Run School would have stayed open for one more year, I would have joined those who could claim that they attended a one room school. I did get Miss Ora Woomer as a teacher in third grade. It was in the newly built Springfield Elementary School

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Old Clinton Church
When I was young, my family attended the Clinton Church of God. It was located in the small village of Clinton, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. Local people attended made up of farmers, factory workers, mechanics, housewives, and other blue collar workers. They were rural people who for the most part were warmhearted folks with strict moral values.
The building was of painted, white clapboard with a shingle roof, shaded by a large oak tree. The six concrete stairs were bordered by white wooden handrails. The steps led to a landing outside of the tall double wooden doors. Stepping inside, there were two lines of pews bordering a wide aisle to the front of the church, the communion table flanked by two oak chairs, and the pulpit.
The pews were handmade and straight backed as the congregation. The wooden pews were painted a pale brown and rested on a gray painted wooden floor. The floor popped and creaked when it was walked on. The walls had wainscoting up the sides to about three feet, capped with a plain chair rail. It was painted with a color of brown, slightly darker than the pews. Above that to the ceiling overhead was a cream painted, wooden walls. The ceiling was of wood painted white.
The lights marched in two rows, hanging down on chains, looking like frosted glass heads of cauliflower. The pulpit and the choir were on a raised dais surrounded by the corral of the altar. It was painted brown to match the pews. The choir sat on shorter pews to the right. Directly behind the pulpit were oak ornate chairs to match the podium and the communion table.
To the left and down off the platform were three pews that faced the pulpit and the preacher. This was the area for the youngsters Sunday school lessons. That side of the church had an outset area with windows that was the base for the bell tower. A hemp rope looped down with one hung on a nail and the other ran up, through a hole in the ceiling and was attached to the church bell, hanging in the open, steeple belfry. When church was about to start, one of the elders would pull on the rope, calling those still outside, the services were about to begin.
At the front of the building between the first row of pews and the table was a large metal grate about four feet square. It hovered over the coal furnace in the basement and allowed the heat to escape and warm the sanctuary. Alas, the church has been razed and is no longer there. A more modern brick edifice has taken its place, but its memories still stir my heart and

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Don’t They

            Last evening I received a call from a pollster. I wasn’t feeling well with a sore throat and back ache. My granddaughter Hannah was diagnosed as having strep throat and I baby sat last Wednesday for her. She wasn’t herself, looking sick around the eyes and complaining of stomach cramps as well. Pedialyte, yogurt, and ginger ale became her fare for the day. Several days later, I have the sore throat.
            So, when I answered the call the guy said it would be a short opinion poll on the elections. I thought that I would give him a few moments. I wanted to see if they wanted information on who I planned on voting as president. He started out with “how sure was I about voting?” When I said I’d voted in every election while I wasn’t in the Navy. He started ,“Is that very likely, likely not likely,” and all of the shades between. Then, “What party? My age?” Only one question about the presidential candidates, then he moved on asking about Schuster and Halverson.
            I haven’t heard much about either and told him so. He persisted, by asking question after question. “What did I know about Schuster?” I said only the propaganda that he sends on his flyers, but please continue to send them. I have a wood burner and it helps to heat my house.
            At first he was back and forth between what I knew about both candidates, then he focused on Halverson, just as he did about Schuster. I told him that I hadn’t received much mail from Halverson, please tell him to send more. My wood burner appreciated it.
            Several times he would say, “We’re almost finished. We’re coming to the end, but what came to an end was my patience. He persisted on asking more inane, repetitious questions. I was waiting. I knew that he would eventually say, “We’re coming to the end.” When I heard those words, I said, “I know. I have reached the end of my patience” and hung up on the guy.
            Several seconds later, the phone rang again. I knew that it had to be him. If it wasn’t, it would go to the answering machine and I could call the person back. After about five rings, it stopped. If he calls back later this evening, I have a loud plastic whistle to greet him. That’s the only thing about the newer phones. I can only press a button to disconnect. I miss being able to slam the receiver down in the annoying person’s ear.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I.R.S. and Taxes
This is a repost of a blog, but as the nearness of April fifteenth approaches, I thought that some might enjoy it.
My father’s father, Edison Beck held many jobs in his life. He was a justice of the peace, a farmer, an accountant, and a tax consultant. He ran a lumber mill. He was a squire, did surveying, and was a lay speaker. A tall slender man, he was active even when he was crowned with sliver white hair. My granddad kept the books, did payroll, and did taxes of two multi-million dollar companies until he was in his early eighties. His penmanship was superb and I was envious for it.
Most of his clientele were average, everyday rural people who looked to him for help with taxes, deeds, and legal matters. His clients were small time farmers, small business owners, and regular citizens who would bring their information to him in much-handled envelopes, shoe boxes, and brown paper bags. Stacks of receipts wrapped with twine or wrapped in rubber bands for him to sort through. They came to him because they were simple folk, plain people; people who were easily intimidated by the government and its regulations. They trusted him with their finances and that he could sort their jumble of papers and then aptly ply the numbers to the jumble of government paperwork. Eventually he would give them the answer for which they anxiously awaited. Will they have to pay money to Uncle Sam or had they overpaid and would get money back?
When the taxes were readied, he would have them sign their returns and even placed a stamp on each envelope. The only thing that his clients would have to do would be to stick the finished returns into their mailboxes to be picked up.
I can remember my granddad sharing one story about a farmer coming in with his wife to get their taxes done. They sat on the opposite of his desk. He watched as the farmer would take out the receipts one at a time and show his wife saying what each receipt was for. Then he would say, “Isn’t that right?” before handing it to my grandfather. My granddad was an extremely patient man, but he was slowly reaching his limit. It came to a head when the farmer produced a receipt, showed his wife, but instead of asking her, he asked my Grandfather, “A commode seat, it is deductible, isn’t it?”
Keeping his voice steady, he replied, “Not unless the cows use it.” Granddad tactfully said, “Let me have the box. I can see what is deductible or not.” Reluctantly, the farmer handed the box to my granddad.
Another tax story revolves around another farmer who was a friend of our family. He kept his tax receipts inside of five metal milk cans. Each year of receipts were stored in the sealed cans with the date painted on the lids. On the sixth year, her would dump and burn the old receipts and store the new ones in the can after changing the date on the lid.
An I.R.S. agent came to his farm to audit him. Ken was the farmer’s name. He lowered a fold down desk in the milk house. That was where he stored his receipts. The desk was for the agent to work. Ken moved the five cans close and knocked off the lids with a brass hammer. (Brass is a softer metal and won’t harm the milk cans.) He put them within the agent’s reach and said, “There are my receipts.”
The agent leaned over and peered inside. Looking up, he said to Ken, “I can’t audit your account this way. You will have to get an accountant to put them in order for me to review.” expecting Ken to bow at his feet like other people that he intimidated with his audits.
Ken said, “The law says I only have to supply my receipts for you. It doesn’t say how I am to present them.” Ken turned and walked away, leaving the agent to his task. He said it looked like the agent went through the first few inches in a couple of the milk cans before packing up and leaving his farm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Oh, No. Not Again

When I glanced outside yesterday morning, I saw snow falling, in a shifting, light curtain of white. It wasn’t the snow coming down again, but the driveway. Last February, the driveway was a sheet of ice that had a slippery layer of water on it in pools, and that was what I was seeing. My car was parked in the middle of an ice skating rink with no way of getting to it without crossing that dangerous obstacle.
Almost a year ago, I was sweeping the snow from my walk to carry some bills up to my mailbox. After putting the broom down, I don’t remember anything until much later in the afternoon. Apparently I had fallen and hit my head. I had to wait until the next month to see if I made it to the mailbox or not and whether my bills had been paid.
My daughter told me later that I walked up the stairs and stood outside of her bedroom. She told me that I said I thought I needed help. She quickly drove me to the hospital. I don’t remember it at all.
Now, I must say thank you to all of the people who cared for me at Frick hospital: the doctors, the nurses, the radiology techs, and anyone else who had anything to do with my short stay. I want to thank the ambulance personnel who ferried me to Pittsburgh, the E.D. staff and the floor staff who cared for me in Pittsburgh. The C.T. scan done at Frick revealed that I had two bleeds in my skull: a subdural bleed and a subarachnoid bleed. One bleed was in the brain itself and the other was between the hemispheres of the brain. I had a large hematoma on the back of my head.
After a twenty-four hour stay in Pittsburgh, I was sent home with a week’s worth of anti-seizure medication. For a short while I had difficulty concentrating and had phantom smells. They have almost disappeared by now.
I just tossed out some salt crystals. I usually don’t, because it makes the drive muddy, but I’ll hazard the mud to get rid of the ice. When I went out after it warmed and snowed, I wanted to clear out the large pond of water. It formed because the mounds of shoveled snow gave it no channel of escape. I was preparing myself for the daunting task before it refroze, when my neighbor drove by in his tractor with a large scoop. I was thankful when he stopped and cleared out several mounds of snow to allow much of the water to escape.

Monday, February 15, 2016


     I thought about my grandmother Rebecca Miner this morning and about the quilts she made, those that my grandmother Anna Beck made, those my mother-in-law Retha Morison made, and those made by my aunt Dorothy Beck created. Each woman had a special flair that was incorporated in the needle craft they applied.
My grandmother Beck was a very strong Pentecostal woman. Her quilts were more drab made of dark, wool patches, sewn to flannel material with knots of yarn. Her quilts were functional, utilitarian, and warm. The designs were simple, but had a Shaker-like beauty.
The quilts that my grandmother Miner made were things of beauty. Her creativity was portrayed in designs of rings, flowers, windmills, or patriotic flag dioramas. It was rare that her quilting frame was missing from her T.V. room. If we visited, she’d fill a needle with thread and have us sit at her side to stitch the straight lines, while her needle flowed into intricate designs. The cotton quilts were from pieces of clothing that were worn. Looking closely, someone would say, “I used to wear that, it was a skirt or dress, or shirt.” She made one for each of her grandchildren as a wedding gift. If I didn’t miscount, that would be thirty quilts. The one I have is titled, “The Flight of the Wild Geese”
Quilts that Retha made were of double-knit. They wear like iron and are for the most part, just four pieces of material sewn into simple squares with yarn knotted corners. She started by making baby quilts, pastel colored squares affixed with yarn to a large bath towel. Soon that wasn’t enough for her and had her husband Bud make her a set of quilting frames, large enough to hold a queen size flannel sheet. She had graduated to making larger quilts, bright multihued squares of double knit knotted to the flannel with a layer of batting between. Much of the material was recycled clothing, recognizable by those who were them or by others saying, “Didn’t you used to have a dress, pair of pants, or a blouse like that?”  
The last quilt that I’ve seen my Aunt Dorothy make was created using old silk neck ties. The design was a sort of sunburst or flower pattern with the narrow ends of the cravats at the center and the points of the wider ends making the rays or the petals.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Scary Shed

One year, the adults of our church decided to create a scary shed and a bonfire near Halloween to entertain the youth and have an evening of fellowship. Several days before, I helped others move a few things stored in the abandoned, two-story chicken coop. After we made sure that all loose boards, projecting nails, and other possible dangerous situations were removed, we started to make the maze and set up frightening scenes. We moved the kids into the scary shed in pairs.
The maze was on the first floor and was the entrance to the scary shed. It involved finding the way through a series of hay bales: over, around, and even under. It opened up into a dark room, only lit by a black light that shone on cow skulls with fluorescent paint in their eye sockets. The bones shone white while the sockets were glowing orange, green, and purple.
In the next darkened room, one of the parents had his chain saw, minus the cutting chain. Someone would turn on the light as soon as he started and revved the chain saw. The loudness of the saw and the sudden light really startled the kids and elicited a few screams. It caused the kids to go into the next room filled with headless torsos. Dress forms and dummies along the walls with Styrofoam wig heads on the floor.
The kids were headed up the stairs to the second floor. Unbraided binder twine hung in clumps like thick cobwebs. Moveable doors made a moving maze and several old mattresses made an unsteady floor on which to walk. Overhead, we rolled dried black walnut shells down an aluminum rain gutter, sounding a lot like rats running just above their heads. Another wall of unbraided binder twine greeted the kids, just before they took the slide down from the second floor and escape into the cool, frosty night.
Once all the youth made their way through the scary shed, we ate hamburgers and toasted marshmallows on the bonfire. Bellies filled, the kids relaxed and the youth leader gave a Bible lesson about being afraid.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Teasing, Weather or Not

I was outside to clean the snow out of my driveway early this morning and hauling in some firewood. I almost forgot to type in my blog post. I woke in the middle of the night, that is when I thought of the title and the meat of my post.

This see-saw, back and forth, up and down of temperatures is driving me crazy. I just can’t get used to one temperature until it changes; not just slow gradual changes, but these wild swings wreak havoc with my psyche and body. The temperature can go form fifty degrees to below zero in less than seven days. Canada needs to close their refrigerator doors. I’m just kidding to those neighbors to the north and to Judy Ferguson.

In years past, the cold usually makes a gradual appearance and slowly disappears with a few backslides. I usually have hauled in two dump truck loads of firewood from a local saw mill, but because I want to move sometime this year, I didn’t want to leave a lot of the wood for others to deal with.

I am left with just a small amount and with the cold snap over the next few days I decided to buy a pick-up truck load to carry me over. I like to keep some extra in case there is a power outage. I have plenty of fuel oil, but if there is no electricity, there is no heat. I have been hoarding a small amount, but now that I have made arrangements for more to be delivered, I can get the wood burner fired up and I can feel more secure. I always like to have something in reserve and hate to be cold.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Barbequed Bear Balls

I was invited to and I attended my first wild game banquet. My brother Ken had a spare ticket and asked if I wanted to go. Just like almost every Saturday night, I was free and readily accepted. I had no idea what to expect. It was all new to me. The only wild game I ate was the animals in my youth and the venison that I got during deer season.
The first things on the menu were trays of hors d’oeuvres of cheeses, deer sausage, homemade pickles, pickled peppers, and crackers. The next course offered the soups: regular chili, venison chili, white bean moose soup, turtle soup, squirrel navy bean soup, and wild mushroom soup. I tried the turtle soup and the squirrel bean soup.
The next round of foods introduced the main courses. Fresh cloverleaf buns, small buttered potatoes, green beans, elk meatloaf, slices of venison roast, wild turkey, bear goulash, venison meatloaf, some type of sausage in sauerkraut, and the barbequed bear balls. The bear meat had been ground up, rolled into meat balls and cooked in a barbeque sauce.
I didn’t try the sauerkraut and sausage and I wasn’t impressed with the bear goulash. I didn’t like the flavor of the spices used and I didn’t like the mushy consistency.
A large urn of coffee and several coolers of iced water and lemon Blend graced a small table at the end of the line to wet the whistle and clear the palate between the different meats.
Another small table was festooned and piled high with a plethora desserts. Cakes of all flavors with their varied icings, small muffins of banana bread, and a few cookies, were bundled in individual clear plastic containers. It made them easy to select and to carry back to your table.
Door prizes and other ticket prizes for T shirts, car care items, cash prizes, framed pictures, appliances, and several guns were given out to those with matching ticket numbers.
I’m sitting at my computer typing, reaching around a full and rotund abdomen and my daughter’s cat Willow. I hope that it all settles and that it allows me to have a quiet night of sleep, because I am rather full right now. I pray that the wild game doesn’t start to fight for territorial rights at some time during the middle of the night.


Friday, February 5, 2016


     Yesterday, I was asked to lead the meeting of writers at the public Library in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. It was a slightly shortened meeting, because our illustrious leader, Dr. Fred Adams was ill and couldn’t attend. His teaching of writing skills during the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the gathering was missing. I had handouts of writing tricks or techniques, but I wasn’t able to go into the depth that he does to make it more memorable.
The good thing was, the group wasn’t subject to our puns and repartees and feeble attempts at humor. The group did secede on the next project for display in the library. The theme will be poetry or a short essay or story about the coming season of spring.
With the help of the library staff, we were able to put on display our Valentine’s Day poetry for any who would like to view our offerings. Our usual display area has been taken over by the “vile” tax forms, necessary for taxpaying citizens to empty their pockets in the ever hungry maw of the state and federal government, so our works are on the window sills in the same area.

As I wrote the title of this blog, I was reminded of the real meaning of the Navy: Never-Volunteer-Yourself. While it’s not quite true, it was the expression many of my comrades in the thirteen button dress-blue pants would say. There were three types of uniforms in the Navy: the dungarees, the whites, and the dress blues.
The dungarees consisted of a pale blue work shirt, worn over a white T shirt, denim trousers, brogan shoes, and the either a ball cap or the white cap. The whites consisted of a short sleeve dress shirt or a long sleeve tunic, white trousers, a rolled kerchief, and the white navy cap. The blues were made of unlined wool tunic top, the stove pipe legged pants with the thirteen button fly, the rolled kerchief and the inevitable white hat.
I was so glad when I left the Navy. By that time those unlined, itchy, heavy wool trousers had eaten away all of the hair from my thighs and parts of my lower legs. There are still areas of my legs that the hair is afraid to grow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sure Am Sore

     When I woke this morning I was sore across my shoulders and back. Even the muscles between my ribs were painful, as though they wanted to go into a spasm. What happened to those days when I awoke and felt rested and relaxed, old age? I can remember when I actually had to dig ditch. The task was for my dad. The old galvanized pipe that ran from the springhouse on the hillside ,about one hundred and twenty yards above our home, became corroded until barely a trickle of water came out of the tap.

It was time to reopen the ditch and replace the old corroded pipe with new plastic lines. Dad gave my brother Ken and I orders as to how much of the ditch he wanted us to dig before he came home from work. I believe it was about ten feet per day. Not too much, but my brother, Ken would torture me as I wielded the mattock until I chased him. He would run back to the house and hide behind Mom’s skirts. I would have to trudge back to the chore of digging ditch, solo. You would think that I would have learned to ignore him and have him stay there to help, but no. It must have been the lead from those pipes that “dumbed” me down.

The biggest thing that I remember was a huge rock that I encountered. It was fully as wide and long as a dining room table with one extension leaf inserted. It spanned the path of the ditch. I scraped the soil from the top of it and even went to the basement for a sledge hammer to try and break it up so I could finish my assignment. It wouldn’t budge, so I continued digging on its far side. Dad was a little upset when he came home and “we” hadn’t finished the length of ditch. When he tried to shatter the boulder, he found that he couldn’t do it either. The slab of stone was about twenty -eight inches thick. Dad finally decided to make a passage to slide the new piping beneath the behemoth instead of going around or continuing to try and remove it. I continued to dig ror the next few days “with” my brother until the pipe extended from the springhouse in the woods to our house.

Monday, February 1, 2016

But Would You Now

When I was a kid I would do things that would make me think twice and probably not do today. Climbing trees and almost falling out or hanging by my heels upside down are two things that I wouldn’t do now. I don’t think I would swim nude as we did as kids after playing several innings of softball in the hot summer sun. The water was cool in a secluded spot downstream from the bridge near Indian Head, Pennsylvania.
I don’t think I would swim sky clad before the end of April in the deep water beneath the arching bridge where Poplar Run Road meets Route 711. It was a spot close to my home and it was sort of a dare to get into that frigid, spring fed, and melting snow fed mountain stream. A large bonfire was necessary to prevent hypothermia.
There are a few things that I might do again, like making “beetle boppers” and having a jousting match. A beetle bopper was a nylon stocking with a pair of thick socks tied in the toes. It was a weapon much like the mace on a chain in medieval times. It could be swung at your opponent and make a loud smacking sound, without causing injury. It was all fun until the light bulb in the ceiling of the room shattered by a misplaced swing.
One thing that I never did with my kids that my mom did with us was to make an indoor skating rink with talcum powder, a linoleum floor, and socks. She would sprinkle the powder on the linoleum and with socks on her feet. She’d take a run and slide the entire length of the hallway floor. We would take turns until we were tired, then we hat to scrub all of the powder from the linoleum to prevent accidental slips and falls as we’d hurry through the house in bare or stocking clad feet.

There are some other things I wouldn’t do now, because I’m older and hopefully have more sense than I did as a kid, but who knows when I enter my second childhood. Beetle boppers anyone?