Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just a Little Walk

   Thinking back on it there was a time when it just killed both Stanley and me to walk to the store or to even take the garbage out (kind of my kids) yet when we decided to do something we wanted to do like go hunting or down to the river to go fishing it didn’t bother either of us to was ten miles. Strange how that works. After Stanley had moved to Schulter he came down to the house one day and got to listen to me complaining about having to go out and gather eggs. It was hard you know! I would have had to walk at least fifty feet, one way! Plus, go through all the nests and gather the eggs and then walk all the way back to the house. With a lot of grumbling and Stanley’s help I did get it done. I had too or Grandma wouldn’t have let us go wonder around.

   We walked down to the rail road tracks close to the house to see if we could find any black berries. We didn’t see any so we just started walking up the tracks toward Okmulgee. We weren’t really going anywhere, it was just one of those lazy Oklahoma days and we wanted to be out of the house and away from anyone that think up some work for us to do.

   We were wondering along lacking away about nothing when Stanley saw a rabbit on the tracks ahead of us. We weren’t hunting that day so the only thing we could do was throw some rocks at it. Stanley was pretty sure he had hit it, although it looked to me like he had missed it by a mile but since he was sure we went running up to see if we could find it. No sign of it when we got there so we kept walking up the tracks arguing about whether he had hit it or not. The next thing we knew we were at Salt Creek so of course we had to go down under the bridge and see if there were any snakes or fish down there. The only thing we found was one little bitty water snake, it wasn’t even a cottonmouth so we climbed back to the tracks and kept going the same way.

   We wondered along admiring all the neat cars that were in Hunters junkyard which got us to talking about cars. That lasted us for a while but since neither of us had a car we lost interest and went back to looking for rabbits or snakes.

   The next interesting thing we came to was the rail road over Deepfork River. We were a little worried about crossing that; we didn’t want to meet a train halfway across. We finally built up enough nerve to go for it (truth be known we dared each other to cross it and since neither of us wanted to look like a chicken in front of the other, away we went). Once we got to the middle and hadn’t seen any trains or curiosity kicked in, we should have remembered what happens to cats when that kicks in but we didn’t. We just had to see if we could climb down that bridge all the way to the river. It wasn’t all that easy to climb down but it wasn’t all that easy either. We weren’t able to get all the way to the water because neither of us bothered to notice that the bottom beams was a good ten foot above the water but at least we made it to that beam. Once we at the bottom we just had to see if we could walk across the beams. Did we even think about the fact we were walking across eight inch beam ten feet above a river? What do you think? Here’s where our superior intelligence really kicked in. We walked those beams across the rest of the river and then turned around and walked them back to the middle where we decide to climb back up. If we would have had a little common since instead of intelligence we might have thought to just get off the bridge at the bank and walk up to the tracks, but no, we had to climb back up at the same place we had climbed down. Getting back up was quite a bit harder than going down but we were making it. We were up to the last beam and all we had to do was pull ourselves up to the track when Stanley said he thought he could feel the bridge shaking. We both looked down the track and sure enough we had found the train. I don’t know if any of you have ever held onto a wooden bridge post and had a train go by you about three feet over your head so I will tell you, it gets a little tense and very noisy. I never knew how much a bridge moves when a train is going across it and I do believe that having felt it once that was more than enough for me.

   After the train was gone and we were able to finally turn lose of the posts and get ourselves back up on the track we decided that since we were this far we might as well wonder on up to where an old factory had been. That place wasn’t very far from the tracks and we had always wondered what it had been. About the only thing left were a few foundations and this giant smoke stack. I don’t know for sure how tall that stack was but it must have been at least a couple of hundred feet. It was made from red brick and we thought it was pretty cool. We had to fight our way through the weeds and briers to get over to it but we finally made it. That was the first time either of us had ever seen it up close and I can tell you, it looked a lot taller when you’re standing at the bottom looking up. There was a big arched opening about thirty feet up where we figure whatever kind of furnace there had been must have hooked to it. We walked all the way around it just checking it out and when we got to a point where we were under the opening Stanley noticed that there were iron rungs in the side of it going up to the arch. How could we pass that up? There might as well have been a huge sign hanging there that said “Dumb boys climb here” We didn’t even think twice about it. The only reason Stanley beat me to the opening was because he jumped on the rungs first and they were only wide enough for one person at a time. After we got up to the opening and climbed inside we were congratulating each other on the fact that the rungs were all solid and hadn’t rusted through. We probably should have thought of that at the bottom.

   We had a really good view from the opening even though we were standing on a narrow ledge of brick and had to hang onto the side. I turned to look inside while Stanley was still admiring the country side and low and behold there were more rungs on the inside and they were heading toward the top. I grabbed a hold of one and shouted at Stanley to come on! Did Stanley say wait or are you sure this is safe or maybe we shouldn’t do this? Of course not. He did bitch at me most of the way up for getting ahead of him though and it was a long climb. Like I said, I’ not sure how high that stack was but once you get to the top and climb out and sit on that top edge it is a breath taking view!

   After enjoying the view for awhile we climbed back down and headed back over to the tracks. We weren’t sure what to do next but since we could see downtown Okmulgee from the top of the stack we figured we had to be close so we just kept wondering that way. Every time we had gone to Okmulgee before it had always been on the highway so we were getting a totally different look at things by being on the tracks. We weren’t walking very fast so I’m not sure how long it took us to get to the point where we realized we were at the main street of town and since we were that close we might as well go check it out. Downtown Okmulgee is pretty neat. We wondered around the courthouse square for awhile checking out all the stores and scheming on how we could get a few of the squirrels that were running all over the place. We stopped and checked out the radio station and were listening to the music from the speaker outside. Stanley came up with a rubber ball from somewhere. We could see the DJ on the other side of the window and Stanley was bouncing his ball on the sidewalk. I had no idea what he was doing until the DJ announced over the speaker that some crazy kid was bouncing his ball outside so he figure he wanted to hear Red Rubber Ball and started playing it. Stanley was pretty tickled with himself over that one.

   It was getting pretty late in the evening by then and we decided we’d better get headed back home. We hadn’t even thought of the time or how far we were from home or how long it was going to take us to get there. We ended up walking back to the highway and all the way to the edge of town when Toy Stidman happen to come driving by and offered us a ride which by then we were more than happy to take.

   This wasn’t an overly exciting day just kind of normal for us back then. I just wanted to point out that hear was two kids that whined and acted put upon when we were asked to walk a few steps to do some work around the house yet with no real plan, destination or thoughts in our little pea brains we walked the nine miles to downtown Okmulgee and three miles back to the edge of town plus all the side trips and never thought a thing about it.