They Made Me Do It......I didn't want to Do it ......

Close In On The Cure

Close In On The Cure
fountain at Love Park, Philadelphia, PA turned pink in October for breast cancer awareness

Friday, October 9, 2009

...continued see the small children...

Never really knew who had the idea first to swing from that old rope, whether it was Jimmy or Herman; never knew how long that rope hung there or even who put it there; but never was there a rope there after that night; all the years later when I was growing up and even when I went back as a grown man, there were still kids swimming and playing baseball, but never did a big, thick, old sturdy and twisted rope swing from the old Poplar tree ever again.

It wasn't like we ever used that rope much, in fact hardly at all, actually almost never. None of the girls ever used it, most of the time the girls wouldn't even swim, just use to sit on the edge of the creek with their feet in the water; and us guys we use to just splash around, hiding behind the rocks teasin each other; sometimes if somebody had the baseball, we would grab it from em and throw it in the water and tell em go fetch it you dog and we'd laugh.

I guess that's what brought us all to the creek's edge the night Herman Miller mounted the rope. Herman went first. Thinking back his small, thin fingers grabbed the rope, and one after the other in rapid succession his hands clasped hand over hand til he was just about half way up the trunk of the old tree. For many years I could still see his smiling face excited and proud he had scurried so quickly up the rope, like a spider crawling the ropes of his web, his slight body, but sturdy muscular legs wrapped round the rope, just hanging there, ever so soft and gently, swinging back and forth, ready to swing out, jumping to the cool and restful waters of the creek that were waiting below for him.

I remember just before he pushed off the rock with his foot for his big swing and jump, he glanced over at Emily Anne and smiled with a hint of sarcasm, as if to say watch this and she blushed and of course looked at the ground and he was off. He swung out and jumped, we heard a loud splash and we waited -- and waited -- and waited--, but Herman never came up; turned out the water wasn't as deep as we thought, or I guess we really never thought much about deep the water was. We found out later Herman had hit his head and drowned. He was only one month from his fourteenth birthday.

I can't remember who told us Herman was gone, if it was the police, the neighbors, mama or who; that part has never been clear to me.

Nothing was ever the same after that. We all finished eighth grade together and all prayed for Herman every time we went to church. Mama said he was in a better place and God would take care of him; but we began to scatter. That final year in eighth grade we didn't go to the field to play football or baseball and none of us swam in the creek that summer. Emily Anne spent all of her time in dancin school and with her girlfriends.

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