Muddy Pond

I love the 4th of July. I wouldn't say it's my FAVORITE holiday but I still love it. As a kid my sister and I spent every 4th of July at a place nicknamed the Muddy Pond. Some friends of my dad's bought some land out in the middle of no where KS. At first they used to take tents and camp out. Over time they had a trailer and eventually they built a cabin (I was about 5 when they did this). They used to haul water out there and finally only within the last 10 years got electricity, a phone, and running water. Doesn't sound like much fun huh?

Oh but it was. Darlene used to make the week of the 4th like a summer camp for a bunch of us kids that went out there. None of us were her kids as her own kids were all grown and gone to college. Some were close family friends others were nieces and nephews. Usually there were between 6-15 kids aging from 7-15 or so. We spent the week swimming in the pond that was the size of a small lake. It had a dock that Charlie (Darlene's husband) built anchored down to the middle of the pond. We played king of the dock and when we got older we sunbathed on it.

There were row boats and a pontoon boat that we tooled around in. We fished and set jugs with bait on them. Darlene usually had some craft projects for us to work on. We hiked off into the woods. There was a huge creek down in the middle of property that had cliffs we would jump off into the most clear deep springs I have ever witnessed. We helped with the cooking which usually included hobo breakfast over the campfire, hot dogs, a fish fry, homemade pizza, and of course smoores. Growing up I wouldn't have traded that week during the summer for anything. None of the kids ever brought friends even as we got older. A lot of times it was the only time we saw some of these kids all year so we looked forward to the week with our camp friends. There were pranks (of course it was always girls against guys) which included Crisco, toilet seats, Saran wrap, mud, frogs, fire crackers, and more.

The cabin had one large room upstairs and a single bedroom downstairs. The loft was filled with enough beds, bunk beds, and cots to sleep 20 people. We brought sleeping bags and pillows and claimed our spots on a first come first serve basis. Darlene and Charlie slept downstairs and kept us awake most of the night with his snoring. The room was open so every whisper and quiet laugh could be heard in the cabin. The only sound you would hear outside was the train that was miles away, bugs, and the frogs. It was peaceful.

Darlene and Charlie were married on the 4th of July so on the actual 4th people from all over came down to celebrate the day and sometimes stay the night. There was always a huge feast, music, laughter, and tons of fireworks. I think one of the things I loved the most was that this was our little slice of heaven. You had to drive through a huge pasture down into the valley to get to the cabin and pond. When I tell you that it was in the middle of KS I mean it was 30 miles from the nearest town and even that town didn't have a walmart or fast food restaurant. You would never find it if you didn't know where it was. I can't tell you how many new friends were spend time on their cell phone with Darlene or Charlie trying to get the directions right because they were lost. Dang city folk...lol.

I haven't been back there in years. As a kid I always thought I would bring my kids there every summer but it hasn't happened once. Time and distance are just the beginning of our excuses. The Muddy Pond taught me that it doesn't matter where you are memories and good times can be had by all. It is the people and simple joys that make life special. Swimming, fishing, food, games, and laughs can be had anywhere and it doesn't have to cost anything. Some people go to Colorado while others go to the shore. Some get to go to Disney World. For this kid it was the middle of no where KS in a pasture by a pond that filled my childhood with memories that still make me smile.


Jules said...

I love summer nights in Kansas, even with the many bug bites and the stifling heat, I absolutely love it. Thanks for the great reminder!

Angel said...

I agree with both you and Jules, I do miss those summer nights in Kansas. Lakes, BBQ's and friends...what could be better?

Katie said...

Oh man, this brings back so many great memories of growing up and the fun times we had at the Muddy Pond.