Long before there were actual trails in Brown’s Park, those of us that lived nearby were familiar with the bear cages, the lighthouse that looked like it never quite got finished, the ship that wasn’t really a ship at all, the water wheel that at one time fed the lake and the old bridges.
Growing up across the street, the Brown’s Park was our “hood”.
We knew every nook and cranny, to quote a cliché.
We spent time petting the deer that was rumored to have been a trick deer on a 1960s television sitcom. We swam with the snakes in Turkey Creek in the summer and skated on the ice in the winter. We fished below the dams. (Most people didn’t know there was a second dam just north of Mary-Dell Camp).
As we got older we played basketball on the courts at Mary Dell and camped in several places.
What inspired this writing today was not the story on the trees and walking trails in the park in last Monday’s newspaper but rather a Facebook post asking the question “to spank or not to spank?”
You probably have guessed that an event that occurred in the park across the street led to a spanking, and you would be correct.
I could not tell you the year but floodwater from the Smoky Hill River backed up Turkey Creek, flooding the park. The area that was once a lake became a lake again.
My brother J.D. and I, naturally it was his idea, hid some swimming suits.
When our folks were busy entertaining some people one afternoon, we went out a back door.
We changed into our swimwear and took off for the flooded area.
The water was so high that we could sit on the edge of one of the bridges and dangle our feet in the water.
A couple people were fishing with a bow and arrow. We noticed some carp had been caught and left for the turkey buzzards to feed on.
We didn’t actually swim but instead waded into the floodwater.
As we walked up the lane back to our house, there were Mom and Dad waiting for us. “Is your nose itching?” I jokingly said to my brother, referring to the old wives’ tail that if your nose is itching someone is thinking about you.
Another is that is you will end up getting into a quarrel with someone, which turned out to be the case.
That’s when we noticed that Dad had a switch in his hand.
Mother said it was the hardest thing Dad ever had to do in disciplining the five kids and he didn’t hit us very hard. Still it scared the heck out of us kids.
I’m not going to get into the debate about spanking but I never swam in floodwater again.
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.