Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Walking the Fence

Growing up, we used to love to go visit family in Southern Utah. There were people to see, horses to ride, rivers to swim and fish in, mountains and hills to walk and climb on, and many other things to do. Today, our children (nieces, nephews, etc.) will complain sometimes about nothing to do when we visit there. Have they lost the ability and imagination that we had, or is there really less to do than when we visited as youth.

One of my favorite things to do was walking Uncle Karl’s fence. It was like a right-of-passage to walk the entire length of his fence-line. You started with the white, log fence up near the house. It was the widest, but some of the logs could be loose and roll when you walked them. Then came the slat fence. It had board nailed flat on the inside that you walked on. This was easier to walk, but it swayed a little, so you still had to be careful. Then came the tall board fence where you had to walk the skinny side of the 2x4 nailed to the back. Finally came the barbed wire fence. This had a smaller log that ran on the inside that you walked on. I learned the hard way what could happen if you fell forward across the barbed wire on this fence. In spite of that, I remember the sense of accomplishment in walking the entire length.

We spent hours hiking in the hills, looking for arrowheads (before it was illegal), pine nuts, animals, or whatever we happened across. We hiked just to explore. We built forts and hide-aways, climbed mountains, and in general enjoyed being kids. If it was hot, we invariably ended up either in the irrigation ditch, or the river, and it didn’t matter if we had swimsuits, or not, usually we just went in clothes and all. The boys tended to fish more as we got older, but even that sometimes took a back seat to other activities.

Granted, today when we all gather, we like to sit and talk--probably not the most entertaining activity for younger kids. Maybe if we were more exciting, the kids wouldn’t complain as much. Tough. Make your own fun. We did.

Walk your own fence. Stick.


Delirious said...

I loved to walk the fence too! I have thought a lot about this and I think the biggest reason kids get bored is that they have too many stimulating electronic devices. They expect to be entertained. When I was a child I spent hours and hours alone in my room playing with toys, or making things. I did get a little bored in the summer as a child, but that was only because I didn't have many kids my age to play with. But I still liked to look for rocks in the ditch, or take a picnic up in to the hills.

Nene said...

I can remember walking the fence, but forgot about the logs that rolled! LOL! Funny thing though- I can remember Aunt Reva sitting there watching us walk the fence! I have many fond memories of just being "turned loose" every summer! I remember Inklings made a map of the town once - with every single house and building. I think she did it when she had a crush on somebody - one of the Wilson boys I think. (?) I remember looking at that map and "coveting it", wishing I had the ability to draw it so I could have it for my own to look at. Times change - you can't just go walking in anyone's fields now days, the "Joy Bump" has been leveled out, and Old Tony isn't up in the fields by the Flat where you can walk up there and catch him for a ride. :0)

Inklings said...

We did use our imagination more when we were kids, because we had to make our own fun. I agree with Delirious that kid rely on electronic devices to entertain themselves now. They don't realize what they are missing out on.
Our family's main activity now is talking, and I think that is good for us, but it was our parents, aunts and uncles main activity, too. We kids just went out and did things, but I do remember that the adults kept making us go outside, too. :0)
Nene- I don't remember that map at all. See, that is why we need to talk, we all remember different parts, and it is like doing a jigsaw puzzle of the past together when we talk. :0)