Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Driveway

My parent's driveway has always been a source of adventure for me and my siblings growing up. It's once pitch-black surface now grayed and weathered by the elements. We had many parades, races, and run-ins with the law (make believe, of course) along it's half-mile length.

Until we finally talked my parents into letting us use the pick-up truck, we hauled countless buckets of water up and down in a wagon, individually watering newly planted trees my Dad thought would look "pretty." Yeah, well, they're pretty now...thanks to me and Sara (high five, Sara).

I made Sara pass out one time. She wanted me to toss her the empty coffee can we used to dip out the water (gyah, it sounds like we lived in 1840) and well, I tossed it to her. Dummy caught it wrong and it cut her finger. It was hot outside...she passed out. Sara tells the story a little differently...something like, "Ruth was being mean and threw a coffee can directly at my finger. But first, she sharpened the edge to razor bladedness (with the supposed sharpening stone that I carry around with me). I was struck, nearly lost an appendage, and due to the extreme heat and circumstances, I fell to the ground in distress." Either version, she ends up a wimp.

My parents own the land on both sides of the driveway and they used to rent it out to local farmers. They've grown potatoes, soy beans, cotton, corn, peanuts...I think that's about all they grew there. We liked when they planted peanuts because 1. Sara and I would go along the edge and pick a few raw ones and eat those until our stomachs got too upset (raw peanuts will tear you up) and 2. after they harvested the peanuts, they'd make hay bales and line them up and you can spend HOURS on hay bales having the time of your life. Just getting on top is an ordeal. Running the entire length of a row is as dangerous as swimming with sharks. Are you gonna slip and fall? Is the distance to the next bale too far? Will I make this jump? Who knows! I love the smell of hay in the reminds me of those times...crisp Fall days, running as fast as we could, taking breaks and eating raw peanuts straight out of the bale, pushing Sara off. When they planted cotton, after it was harvested, we'd get a big trash bag and collect what was left in the field, boll and all. We'd pull out the cotton and have the little bolls left. They're a star shape. We'd spray paint them gold or just leave them natural and Mom would make wreaths out of them or just spread them around the house to decorate. But, our favorite crop was corn. We'd watch them plant it, row by row. We'd wait for eons, it seemed, until the stalks were high enough...and we'd make mazes. We never hurt the crops, just used them to make AWESOME mazes. We had maps and bases and binoculars and our own stash of food. We had the best time. I'm surprised we never got lost in the fields. Probably because we're amazing mazers and mazers don't get lost in their own mazes. As soon as the sun started setting behind the tallest tree, we'd high-tail it out of the field and head on've read the Scarecrow Goosebumps book, right? Yeah, we don't stay in corn fields after dark. However, there was one thing we would risk the wrath of the scarecrows for...

Along the fences, pie melons grow wild. They're like honeydew melons except you're not supposed to eat them. We'd find out from the 'rents if someone was coming to visit that night and right at dusk, we'd pick the melons and line them across the driveway. Then, we'd hide within the first few rows of corn...not too deep in because of the, you know, scarecrows...but we'd park our dusty little behinds and wait. We could hear the faint whir of a car coming down the driveway...closer...closer...CLOSER....SPLAT!! BUMP BUMP...Success!! If we saw brake lights, we'd bury ourselves further down, our faces touching the dirt. The Mystery of the Haunted Melons is still passed around campfires to this day. Who knows why those melons did what they did to those poor cars.............we'd walk into supper that night, greeting the visitor, a layer of dust on our clothes...completely innocent.

Several years ago, my parents decided to plant a variety of trees in one of the fields and now there's a forest there...filled with trails that my Dad and grandfather have bush-hogged. One of the trails starts here...the Nopé Trail...the NOah and PEter trail. It leads to my grandparent's house, who bought some land from my parents awhile back to build their house. Not to be mistaken for the Nope in "Nope, you can't go down this trail."

I think all four of us have left little pieces of ourselves on that driveway. No, literally, we have. We rode our bikes and scooters and pulled each other behind the tractor and we fell off a LOT. There's a big curve at the bottom of a hill and we took that curve at the speed of sound, so you can imagine the damage we did to knees, elbows, faces. Mom and Dad told us to slow down, and of course, we never listened. Davey Crockett wouldn't slow down. Duh. Why should we? So, we knew not to expect any pity when we went inside the house. We bandaged our war wounds and rallied ourselves to head back out onto the bloodstained pavement.

The driveway is lined with Indian Weed. I don't know the scientific name...probably Indianus Weedus. It's a very beautiful bright red and seeing a whole field of it, framed by evergreens and oak's like Christmas all Summer long. And, you can semi-eat it. Well, you bite into the stalk and it has this liquid inside. Kind of lemony/peppery/kids love it. I have no idea if you're supposed to do that, but we always did and we're still okay.

There's a lot of wildlife along the driveway. Bobcats, rabbits, turkeys, squirrels, foxes (foxen?), skunks, armadillos, possums, tortoises (those suckers have a huge underground system of tunnels and chambers under the driveway. I'm surprised they haven't taken over the state by now. There's an entire family and they're so cute. Except when they hiss at you from inside their shell), snakes, lizards, and deer. Oh, the deer. They're the most dangerous animal around the house. Sure, they're sweet looking and graceful and hey, it's Bambi. More like Bambi on steroids. They've totaled two cars driving down the driveway. They jump over the fences onto cars. Yes, they do. And they hop away, laughing gleefully as they look back on the mayhem they've created. But they are quite pretty to watch in the back field. Just watch for them on the driveway. They've got an evil look in their eye.

Here's the tree I climb every year to get us mistletoe. I didn't climb it last year...David and Peter got the limb clipper.

The end of The Curve.

My parents walk about 4 miles every day. I jog and walk and do side-shuffles (never with my back towards the woods...the deer, remember).

Dad put birdhouses all along the length of the driveway. Squirrels like them, too...for lunch. (The houses, not the birds.)

Here's the tree that an oak snake frequents. I had a picture of him from the last time I visited, but I cannot find it. I think it's on my home computer. But this is a pretty good representation of what he looks like. He likes to hang on a limb and scare my Mom as she passes under.

Wildflowers everywhere.

The other field. Nothing planted right now.

These caterpillar things are everywhere. We call them Woolly Boogers.

I love The Driveway. It's a neat place to be. I'm looking forward to more parades, races, and run-ins with the law with the girls and my future nieces and nephews.

It's hot outside. More humidity than heat. This was actually a cool day.

Pool still covered.

What's on the coffee table?

Reese's Butter Cups! That's what!

Just thought I'd throw a cutie in there, too. This was her little cap from the hospital. Doesn't quite fit the same.


  1. Ah, this brings back so many memories!

    You'd appreciate this book I'm reading called "Last Child in the Woods." It's about how parents don't let their kids just PLAY outside, either kids are indoors or they have to have some sort or structures activity (sports, whatnot). I just think it's neat to have validation that they way we grew up (i.e. running wild outdoors) is a good thing. :)

    You make me want to live out in the country.

    And to chew on some Indian weed. I'd forgotten about that stuff!

  2. That is breathtaking! Beautiful view!
    ps, I finally wrote a new post. I can't believe you've been posting more then me lately! I say this summer we have a post-off! You-Me-Posts!

  3. Heather in AlbanyJune 17, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    plural of's a tricky one

  4. Love this post! It sounds so much like when my cousins, sisters, and I all used to play at my grandparents house. We'd stay outside playing for HOURS!
    Love you 4!


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