Halloween this year for us ended up leaving our suburban neighborhood and took a two plus hour drive up to rural Sac City, Iowa, my old home town. The boys got a chance to see their Nana and Grandpa, and go out trick-or-treating in the small town.
After the drive up Saturday morning, the boys committed to their usual routine. Josh did not waste any time in getting himself onto Nana's computer to play video games, and Buggy was quickly out the door to go play with Jack, the neighbor kid.
After awhile, that all subsided and they went down to play in the mythical wilderness of my childhood known as The Ravine. Most of this year, the ravine was off limits as the city was re-doing the storm/sewage water drainage system. I noticed as we drove by The Ravine before bending the corner to my parents that the entire valley looked a lot different than in years past. The lower valley was filled in with lush green grass, and the creek bed walls were now lined in most parts with rocks to prevent erosion. The surrounding hills however were still pretty much the same as I remember them; lots of trees and brush with dead limbs and leaves all over the ground. The boys spent a considerable amount of time down there this weekend, just enjoying exploring the area. At one point I was asked if they were allowed to go through The Tunnel (also known to some of us older people as the devil worshipper's hangout). Unfortunately for the boys, I know the water runs right through there as it passes underneath 9th street, and now being a parent, I didn't want them to soak their shoes. However, I did allow them to go over the road to the continuation of the ravine on the other side.
Turns out, in the case of Buggy, anyways, I might as well have let them go through the tunnel. Buggy slipped at some point and ended up in the creek, soaking his shoes, socks and partway up the legs of his pants. Oh well I guess. All part of being a kid.
Sunday came along, and there was more time in The Ravine. I sent the boys down. Soon Buggy came back. He was bored because "All you can do down there is play." Well geez...Didn't realize that playing was so uncool these days. He wanted to play on the computer inside. I asked him what the difference was since inside all he could do was play. He informed me with all the authority a 6 year-old can muster up that there is a huge difference between inside and outside play. Well, okay solves that issue. I still kicked him back out. As I helped him get his shoes back on, he then proceeds to tell me that "Josh did his homework three nights last week instead of doing it during the day like he was supposed to."
"Are you being a tattle tale I," I asked.
"Well then," I queried, "What is it you're doing, if you're not being a tattle tale?"
"I'm just telling on him!"
I guess the difference is in how you say it, not the intent. I must've forgot that childhood lesson over the years!
But I sent him back out to the Ravine to play with his brother, and shortly thereafter I attempted to go in their and sneak up on them. Unfortunately for me, they knew I was coming anyways, and instead of occupy themselves, they put themselves up on the area known as "Lookout Hill" and waited for my arrival, so they could come and shoot me with their toy guns. Josh being Josh, had actually scaled a small tree to get even more height to scan the territory for the rebel invader known as 'Dad.' Like father like son. I attempted to go in around the other side of the ravine, but all the leaves on the ground wouldn't cooperate, and rustled as loudly as a freight train as far as I was concerned. they quickly came down from their position and scaled up the side of Death Mountain to take me out. I knew they were coming from me, I just didn't realize how fast Josh was able to come up the steep side of the hill, and he was on top of me pretty quickly. I'm either losing my edge, or he's coming into his own as a scout.
After I was taken out by my boys, we moved back to Lookout Hill, and began to make improvements to the old campfire spot I had as a kid. We repaired and improved the old fire pit spot, and began constructing a few blinds with dead saplings, other branches and sticks, and leaves. We also carved out a few paths on the hill by clearing out the leaves so we could move about in a quieter manner. The 'campsite' wasn't anything you'll find in a high end construction innovation magazine, or outdoorsman type publication. We just used the bare bones and no real method to our madness. We just kept plugging away at it, and pretty soon my dad was yelling down into the ravine from his backyard to let us know it was time to come back up as supper was being made.
"Oh man, the parents are ruining my fun time!" Was the all I thought when I heard him yell down to us. Just like the old days, when I was the boys' age. So we came up, cleaned up and had some supper.
Then 6pm rolled around and it was time to take them out trick-or-treating. Both the boys did very well, with both of their buckets getting filled up, despite the fact that we covered a LOT less ground than I did during my years of trick-or-treating in that town. After we got back to my parents house, I tossed Buggy's still-wet shoes and socks in the dryer, and they hung out with some kids of family friends who stopped over for awhile, and around 9pm I had everything packed up, loaded up the candy-inhaling boys, and hit the road for a dark ride back home, getting in around 1130 or so. the boys were woken up long enough to get inside, grab a drink of water and go right back to sleep, this time in their own beds.
I don't have any pictures of the boys in costume yet, as I'm waiting on my mom to send the pictures via email. So when I get them, I'll put up a real quick picture blog.