A Girl, A Creek, and an Hour to Spare

When my worker woman showed up Monday morning after having been gone for a two-week long vacation, I had a long list of to–do’s for her. I answered the door and found her nine year old daughter standing next to her.
I said hello and went over the list with Kelly. I left to go to exercise class and then to the board and care home to see my sis. I cut the visit short as I imagined Kimmy filling up my dogs’ bellies with too many treats.
When I got home, I found the dogs glued to Kimmy, and Kelly busy working outside.
“Let’s take the dogs for a walk,” I said.
Three mammals got excited about it – a Jack Russell, a lab mix, and a nine-year-old girl.
After struggling to get the harness on the Jack Russell, I leashed up the dogs and opened the door.
Imagine everyone flying out the door in unison – dog, girl, dog, senior citizen. I had to let go of the lab mix before she pulled me over.
Life is so much more exciting if you are a dog, and a girl has come to call.
Kimmy and I traded leashes and dogs a half dozen times before we crossed the busy street to the path that would lead us to the four bridges, Kimmy’s favorite walk.
“Could I go in the water?” Kimmy asked.
“Not right now,” I said. “The dogs want to run.”
The first bridge had a lizard on it, the second bridge had running water under it (rare for August) and the third bridge was too high up to get to the water.
“Now can we go down to the water?” she asked.
“Okay,” I said.
We circled back to the second bridge. The dogs didn’t want to wait while Kimmy kicked off her flip flops and waded in the slow-moving creek. They took some drinks, and then I thought maybe there was too much algae for the water to be safe for them. The water looked clear. I could see the pebbles at the bottom.
“Let’s take the dogs home and come back,” I said.
We walked the dogs home, grabbed two drinks and came back to the same spot.
I sat on the hill while Kimmy threw stones, chased fish, got a fish caught in her shirt (she was lying on her stomach just for fun), and frog-walked along the pebbly bottom.
Kimmy splashed and soaked her pants, shirt, and everything else.
I enjoyed the breeze and the trees growing every which way, unlike the neatly planted rows of nearby properties. A swallow tail butterfly flitted overhead, enjoying the shaded habitat as much as I did.
I had time to do this. Kelly was back home, doing the work that made my back hurt. I had nowhere to be, and creek time was very important to one nine year old girl that I knew. I became so relaxed that I wanted to put my head down in the grass and take a nap.
For the first time maybe ever, Kimmy wasn’t told to hurry up and get out of the water. She finally emerged after forty five minutes, complaining that her wet jeans were heavy and pulling down.
Kimmy’s clothes drip-dried all the way back to my place. I found a sun dress for her to wear on my pile of sewing. I put her jeans, shirt, and her undies out in the sun to dry.
Now I am sitting in my chair, pooped beyond words, as Kimmy’s mom finishes up her chores for the day. I am ready for peace and quiet — a cat nap, if you will, before my own kids come over for dinner.
What would I have done with that hour that I spent at the creek? Checked my phone? Scrolled through Facebook? Listened to a fidgety girl as she asked me what she could do for fun?

Couldda Wouldda Didda
We went. We sat. We enjoyed.

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