Crossing Gracie Creek

The grass peaking through the frozen blanket of snow

It was a frosty winter morning in the Sand hills of central NE, in maybe 1970 or 71. The crisp air made my nose tingle and the grass bow in reverence to the chill as the still blades bravely peaked through the blanket of snow. As we walked across the frozen earth sparkling with snowflakes winking at us, our laughter rang as a bell of joy in the stillness of the ice-covered prairie.

We were carrying our ice skates, fishing poles, auger, buckets, picnic basket and various other items necessary for the family mini-vacation. We often took them and they were my favorite ones. We called my Dad the recreation director because nearly every weekend he planned something fun and interesting for us to do. Even though he enjoyed them as much as we did I think he arranged them to keep us out of trouble.

As we left the old green Chevy truck behind, I looked back and it seemed to be a watchman, smiling and waiting to take us on our next adventure. That old pick-up took us so many wonderful places, like: rodeos, camping, swimming, fishing, hunting, school, church, even to Mount Rushmore. We must have looked like the Beverly Hill Billie’s with five of us packed into the cab and all our gear piled in the back. Old Green as we referred to her also taught each of us kids how to drive. She pulled our horse trailer safely to I don’t know how many rodeos. Anyway that truck seemed a part of our family. But I have wandered away from my story, so let’s head back to Gracie Creek.

Gracie Creek

As we approached the creek the swampy areas had big solid motionless clumps of dirt and grass that we walked on top of. They reminded me of the goose bumps that were forming on my face from the chilly temperature. They became bridges to keep our feet dry from the pools of slushy water which refused to cooperate with the season.

Our destination was the pond across the creek where our fishing poles would be propped by holes freshly hollowed out by Dad in hopes of catching bluegill for our supper. While the poles rested quietly waiting for their catch, we were anything but quiet. As we skated our shouts of accomplishment, praises, and arguments could be heard for miles, even though there was no one nearby to hear them, except maybe Old Green. Everyone had to show off their abilities to go backwards, spin and jump. We also enjoyed a competitive game of hockey.  Our attempts at being Olympians included bumps and bruises, fights and fun.

There I go; getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the important part. When we arrived at the creek it still contained mud and water up to my Father’s knees.  This is not uncommon during the early winter months as Gracie creek is sustained by underground water springs.  None of us were wearing appropriate boots to cross the creek and it was much too wide to jump. However, my Dad saved the day, as he always did. He carried each one of us across on his back, plus all the gear, so we could have a wonderful day bonding together as a family and making memories for the future.

My Dad, like my Heavenly Father is my HERO. They both carry me across the streams of life anytime I hop on and enjoy the journey with them.

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