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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Doing the demo derby

© Another Day in the Country

The days with my California kids in Kansas all to myself went by very quickly, and when it was time to get ready for more family members to arrive I told the boys we were going to wash the sheets on their bed.

“Your mission this morning is hanging sheets on the line over at the Ramona house,” I told them, giving them a couple of tips and handing them the clothesbasket full of laundry with a bag of clothespins.

My clothesline at the Ramona house was knocked down by falling branches in a bad windstorm a couple of years ago. Getting it up and useable was not an easy fix. One pole was sheared off at the base.

While I was in California this summer, it was finally back together. I was so thrilled that I made a banner on the computer and had the kids hang it on the clothesline saying, “THANK YOU ART & BILLY.” That was the boys’ first introduction to the concept of clothespins. Now they were graduating to actually hanging laundry.

When my sister came home from work and saw the sheets on the line, she decided the kids needed more “hands-on” instruction. She explained to them that “in the olden days” a household was often judged by the look of their laundry on the line and how important it was to our mother to hang the sheets properly.

“Why didn’t we just put them in the dryer?” the kids wanted to know, “For sure that’s easier!”

How are children going to know how wonderful it is to climb into freshly laundered sheets that have been dried on the line if they don’t experience it first-hand? That’s certainly one of the things you often miss living in the city. That and a whole bunch of other things, too.

“We’re making homemade ice-cream after supper,” I announced. “I’ll need your help!”

Soren, the oldest by 18 months, declared that he wanted to do it. Dagfinnr had done this before and he wasn’t as eager to volunteer.

“You’ll get first dibs on the dasher,” I told Soren and then, of course, he wanted to know what a “dasher” was and just exactly how long this process was going to take. In California, if we want ice cream, we just head to 31 Flavors!

When I went to bed at night, I went over my list of possible adventures for two California kids in Kansas. I’d checked off lawn mowing, clothesline hanging, Greyhound Museum, scooter excursions, lesson #1 for Soren on driving the truck, swimming in Hillsboro, watching cattle being processed into a local feed lot, and shucking dozens of ears of corn fresh from Jirak’s field.

They’d been offered the chance to go horseback riding and night fishing, but they declined.

“We’d rather play board games here at home,” they said.

They would have probably declined going to the demo derby, but I insisted.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to take you to a demo derby,” I told my grandson. “I want you to see what they are like!”

It seemed to me that these kids playing video games non-stop are always blowing up something on a screen, so experiencing mayhem first hand should be an exciting event. Furthermore, I think demo derbies are a hoot to watch and I wanted Dagfinnr to see at least one with me in his lifetime.

As the beat-up cars entered the arena, gunning their engines, sliding around in the mud, my grandson leaned over and called out to me over all the noise, “You paid $80 for this, Baba?”

Who knows what he’ll remember of this summer adventure with his cousin in Kansas? Will it be games of Joker’s and Pegs, 3/13, and Mexican Train at all hours of the day and night? Will it be doing dishes after meals with everyone in the mix when the dishwasher went on the fritz? Will it be re-watching episode after episode of a British comedy that we’d discovered this summer? Will it be the water fights in the yard that were even more fun than going swimming? Will it be the stray kitten Jess found, who entertained the boys endlessly?

I do know that when they were packing to head back to California, Dagfinnr was sad.

“I wish we had a few more days,” he said.

For sure, he’ll remember all the laughter and just plain fun we had spending another day in the country!

Last modified Aug. 30, 2018

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