Friday, March 19, 2010

On the River

When I was young, my family would drive to my grandparent’s house on the “River.” The “River,” as we had come to call it, had a family history behind it. My great-grandfather built electric power dams. He had used dynamite to alter the flow of the river upstream, leaving underbrush of trees and bushes which would scrape the bottom of our “row boat” and, sometimes make it treacherous to maneuver.

Arnold, my grandfather, had asked my father to design their River home for him and for Bernice, my grandmother. My father, Don, designed a structure which began with a garage and transitioned it into a type of A-frame with redwood siding. Dad placed the children’s room in a loft with windows that looked into the living room below. As children, we used to sneak up to the windows and watch the adults in conversation, and sometimes catch a glimpse of a television show.

Suffice it to say, the home stood out from the farmhouses nearby and across the River; the River home was perched on a hill above the river itself, with two piers where we fished with bamboo poles and worms. Grandma would fry the fish that we caught for breakfast, and we would go out again, on the river to catch snapping turtles and then let them go.

Our father taught us how to skip a stone on that river. We have thrown a pebble into the river and are watching the water around it ripple in concentric circles, casting out for like souls, lovers of beauty and appreciators of art.

Pencil drawing, “The Boat that Si Wilcox Made,” by Shirley D. Erickson, depicting a boat on the White River, Wautoma, Wisconsin
As pictured in gallery flyer, “Seven Variations, June 7, 1964
Owned by Judge Wilcox, Wautoma, Wisconsin

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