Saturday, May 26, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Mud Street
by Jaime Kaufhold
(May 1991)

Finally it is spring. We will still get those colder days, but there is a warm, softness to the air and the sun is definitely getting hotter. The plum tree has already blossomed and soon the flower gardens will be in full bloom.

Spring has a different affect on everyone but for me “spring fever” means it is time to start cleaning. I remember for my children it meant going outside to find some mud. Being a mother, I found that many times our objectives in life clashed. Ironically, we lived on First Road, just off of Mud Street. Yes, that was the name. And during those years of my life I wondered if I’d ever rid myself of the mud.

My children loved the stuff. As soon as they could, they would be fixing up the fort along the treeline (ditch) in a neighbouring field or throwing mud balls at one another. As I watched them trudge off toward their next great adventure, I’d holler, “Stay out of the mud!” By the time lunchtime rolled around they’d be home, totally unaware that they somehow managed to cover their entire bodies in mud. Of course these excursions always meant the dog(s) went along too, adding wet dog smell to the clean up fun.

The kids would go out of their way to stomp in a mud puddle with nice clean shoes or somehow slip into the ditch while waiting for the school bus. Many times I had to hose them off outside. I thought that as they grew older they would lose their fascination with mud but I was wrong. The bigger they got, the more mud they brought home. I think what they enjoyed most was trying to beat the mud. Where we lived it was the consistency of wet cement and pulled like quicksand.

Once Darlene got stuck behind the garage and Nancy got stuck trying to pull her out. I thought they looked pretty funny until I found myself calf deep in the stuff. Karen, who liked mud the least, was able to rescue us by dropping a board down in front, giving us something to crawl onto while we pried our legs out.

And we never forgot the time Mark was late coming home from delivering his newspapers. Sometimes he’d stop and play with friends along the way, so I didn’t start to worry until he didn’t come home for supper. One spring day he’d gotten stuck taking a short cut through a field and it took a few hours before he could unstick himself. I was just getting ready to go look for him when he walked up the driveway, caked mud to his waist, minus his shoes.

Now with the kids grown it appears that I’ve finally beaten the mud. Spring comes so I clean, but there is no one here now to mud things up. Sometimes I watch out the window and see the grandkids working their way past the plum tree towards the garden, pail of water in hand, and I smile. Then I laugh when their mothers try a few hours later to load them in the minivan.

“How did they get mud all over their jeans?” they ask.

So I explain the biology of mud. Not only does it get in their jeans, but its in their genes and from growing up just off Mud Street.

1 comment:

  1. I cry everytime I read your postings. That day in the mud I clearly see all of us pulling at each other and laughing so hard we could barely breathe. That mud pit behind the garage was also home to the best tomato fight ever! It was early fall and the tomatos were over ripe, there was mud, laughter, and disgusting tomatos all over all of us. I think Mom got into it after scolding Mark for starting it, but then she joined in after he thought it would be fun if he hit her with a tomato during her scolding. We lost the tomato fight as Mom could throw a tomato with the accuracy of a baseball...and I am not kidding, we didn't have a chance.