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I'm a Library Associate/Adult Services in Maryland. I'm married. I have three children and two grandchildren. And I have twenty chickens and one beehive in the backyard.

Jun 11, 2008

THE PRINCE OF FROGTOWN by Rick Bragg SENSE OF PLACE CONTEST

The stream began in a jumble of rocks beside the Piedmont Highway, bubbling up cold and clear...

But if you followed the water a meandering half mile to the west, through a dark, spiderwebbed, monster-infested culvert tall enough for a small boy to run through, all the picnickers and weenie roasters vanished behind a curtain of gnarled, lightning-blasted cedars and thick, dark pines.

10 comments:

____Maggie said...

I love it Stella! Oh, and can't you see little kids wading through and having the best time. My brother and I used to make small dams across a creek while dad played tennis in a nearby park. The owner got into one of our designs and it is now permanent. :)

StellaMarie said...

So what kind of design is it? Can you describe it? Is it marketable? Could you be rich now, if only?!!

____Maggie said...

Well, at 10 (Ferrell) and 8 (me), we would search out the perfect rocks in the creek. They had to fit together snug. Our first designs were intended to really dam up the creek. We wanted to walk from one side to the other w/out falling in the water. So the rocks had to be rather big. The owner didn't like that and we would come back to a torn up dam.

Our first attempts looked like pyramids in the water, and it was hard to balance on them. This was when we decided it had to be wider at the top.

We built it so much - my dad played tennis almost daily - that we had a rhythm to our work and knew which rocks went where. It was my brother who thought of a lip to let the water flow over. We found a table like rock and set it in the middle. I remember it looked so cool and we could stand on the lip and let the cold water run over our feet.

We were amazed when we came back and the owner had not torn this one up. It stayed like that until some older boys did it for him.

I think we were pretty bummed. I remember we didn't rebuilt it until late summer, and when we came back in the fall the dam was had a bigger lip and was set in concrete.

I have always wondered if the man watched us from his house and encouraged us with extra rocks, when he figured we weren't going to stop. :)

To describe it, well...it was about 6 feet long. Not exactly straight across and stood to be about 3 feet high. My brother and I could not jump across the creek in this place. As a adult looking back, I'm guessing it is possbly 10 inches wide with a lip of 15 inches. I remember in order to balance the lip it set evenly on top of the dam and hung off on both sides. Can you see it?

StellaMarie said...

I do believe I see it. And I see two kids, busy as beavers in the creek, unaware of being observed. Sort of like Boo Radley? Except you guys got rocks, not gum!

Years ago, some of my husband's family had a family picnic on their property. We loaded up the wagon with fried chicken, potato salad, drinks, etc., and it was pulled up the hill behind
the tractor. The rest of us walked through the brambles and picked blackberries along the way. We spent the afternoon on that hill, damming up a creek, and swimming in the hole the men dug out. Couldn't go far, but we could go deep because the guys showed off and dove, repeatedly, to bring up rocks and to dig out the bed at the bottom of the water. Nobody has time for that kind of fun anymore plus we're all scattered everywhere.

My grandchildren are headed for Tennessee this month (they're moving there--permanently), so I've got to get them in the creek to help me build a dam, and some memories, before they leave.

Casa Pearl said...

Perfect pictures! I gave a silent aahhh at the thought of putting my feet into that water. However I'll pass on the culvert - I hate spiders!

gautami tripathy said...

I loved this picture. What a great place. How I wish to be there!

Nan said...

Wonderful, wonderful pictures and passage! I wonder if there are water moccasins in there? :<)

____Maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
____Maggie said...

I'm from Tennessee, Stella! I hope they enjoy the state, too. It was a great place to grow up, and they can visit our bridge if they are ever in Gallatin. :)

PS I deleted the first post. My laptop is dropping letters.

Stella said...

They are moving to Deer Lodge, which is (I believe) about 2 hours farther south/west from Knoxville. It was tough to say goodbye to 12-year-old Grant :( He shed a few tears, and so did we.

We visited Tennessee and stayed in historic Rugby last 4th of July. Have you been there? It's a cute little community that was begun in the 1800's by second sons, who weren't in line to inherit the family estate in England. They came over here and landed in the rugged hills of Tennessee with a plan to build a utopia. Unfortunately, the community only lasted about 10 years because the men didn't have the skills or stamina needed to live/thrive in such an environment. There are still houses remaining from that period (we stayed in one of them) and any other houses that have been built on the property had to conform to that period - Victorian, gingerbread houses, etc.