Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

City kids get bonus at swimming lesson

A little girl was directing her grandmother to our farm, where she was enrolled in a swimming class. "Now, this is where you turn down Wild Kingdom Road," she said.

Another time, as soon as a mother stopped the car her boy jumped out saying, "Let me out of here, I’ve got some running to do." Another asked me, "Some time could I just touch the cow’s foot?" And one older boy was struck by the glory of "all this space."

We were delighted that the children loved the farm.

We were also surprised that the parents didn’t seem to mind driving about twelve miles to get here. It actually took most of a half-day to round up the car pool, drive out, watch the lesson for an hour, dry the wet ones, and return home.

One day a father stood viewing the pastures and woods and suddenly yelled, "A deer! There’s a wild deer! No! Two, three!" Three deer sauntered from the pond where they drank, then across the hayfield, munching as they went. The man apologized for disturbing the class but soon the children were back in the pool and we continued the lesson. Of course we all enjoyed the deer.

A bluebird broke up a class one time and I stopped and told the children that the nest was in a woodpecker hole in a rotting fence post near the pool. Before we continued the lesson I said, "After class, if you go quietly and keep your hands on your hips, you can peek in the hole and see the little mother setting on her eggs." Some did that every time they came.

Six-year-old Peter Stenbeck kept us guessing and jumping, sometimes. He was a fast learner. Too young to ask "city" questions, he was curious and innovative, like his parents, and usually the first one in the water and the last one out.

One day he asked, "How long before I can get out?" I told him he could get out at playtime, if he wanted. The playtime was when we watched the children for special needs and gave some of them individual help.

Playtime had another purpose: it kept the traffic going only one way at a time on our mile and a half of narrow gravel road. It also was a time when we had a double-size group for some water-safety talk and training.

Peter asked again, "Can I get out now?"

"Why are you anxious to get out today?" I asked.

"I’ve brought something to show," he said. When we blew the whistle and said, "Playtime!" He dashed to the car. Peter came through the gate carrying a paper sack and stood above the children in the pool with one hand holding to something in the bag.

"What do you have for show and tell, Peter?" I asked. He smiled widely and pulled out two live blue racer snakes about 18 inches long! They squirmed and stood out from his little fist as if to take off any minute. Playtime was over. People yelled and scattered as Peter said, "It’s OK, we have them loose in our house." His mother hurried him to the car with the snakes still in his hand.

Chub and I came to like the Stenbecks and they sometimes visited after the swimming season ended. I’ll have another story on this interesting family, some other Tuesday.

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