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Lynna Clark: Mama’s Creek

The stream which runs by my mom-in-law’s house has been a source of contention for years. My beloved husband and his two sisters had their rear ends worn out numerous times for venturing down there without permission. I’m sorry. Did I write that out loud? What I meant to say was that my beloved and his sisters were warned by their mother of the dangers of the creek with wise and gentle counsel.

At times the water rushes fairly fast and could sweep a kid downstream if they were to lose their footing. Plus there’s been the occasional rat or snake spotted so it was long ago deemed unworthy of unsupervised frolicking.

The same creek stretches to my side of the road so just the other day I gave the same warning to my three year old grandchildren. “Never go near the steep slick bank or you might fall in and get hurt.” Sweetie Marie peered over the edge with me and asked the age old question.


Though I haven’t seen a rat or even a mouse I explained that there might be a snake slithering there. Her eyes grew wide and added, “Or uh alligator.”

I nodded knowingly and led them away from the edge. Her brother Jesse looked at me with eyes that searched my sin sick soul. So I cleaned up my warning.

“Well… maybe not an alligator… but there really could be a snake.”

He glanced back over the edge then at me and I could tell I’d better keep a close watch on my adventurous three year old. I had a gut feeling he thought seeing a snake would be kinda cool.

Meanwhile, across the road, my mom-in-law who happens to be ninety, decided to pick up limbs in her yard and toss them over the bank of her creek.

I don’t know why.

And in order to do that she had to drag her ‘bad leg’ around her yard, gather the branches, place them on the seat of her rolling walker [which she lovingly calls her Cadillac], and push them to the creek.

She also keeps her cane handy. When not in use it hangs on the side of her Cadillac. As she began tossing limbs into the creek she heard the clanging of metal against rocks. Sadly while unloading the Caddy she accidently tossed her cane into the forbidden creek.

She told my husband later that she could have retrieved the cane herself if she could’ve gotten down on her tummy and reached over the side. The getting down didn’t worry her. It was the getting up that was cause for concern. Praise God she thought ahead. But if you ever ride by and a lady waves to you from ground level, please stop to see if she needs a hand.

As her son peered over the steep edge he realized retrieving her cane would be more difficult than his mother described when she asked him to ‘just make a hook out of clothesline wire and jerk it out.’ A warning from a preacher somewhere in the past called out to him to beware of the slippery slope. Though it made no sense back in the day finally the advice came in handy. I was at home thanking the Lord that he was trying to figure out how to rescue a cane and not his mother.

He formed the lasso per her request and was trying to do as he was told when a couple kids from the house on the other side made their way down into the creek. They fetched the cane and handed it up the bank to my beloved. They didn’t seem to be concerned about snakes or alligators.

He took the cane to his mom and told her about the boys. So of course she sent him back to give them a tip. The tip was not “Stay out of the creek.” Instead she sent a couple bucks. Together we wondered why children today get rewarded for playing in the creek when yesterday’s kids got the stew beat out of them.

However, we thought ahead and refrained from asking. After all… the woman has her cane back. And I’m pretty sure she can still instruct her kids with wise and gentle counsel.


Lynna Clark lives and writes in Salisbury.

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