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Skipping Rocks

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Every summer Mother’s folks would take us to their cabin. ‘Twas neither big nor fancy. Had no furnace. No TV! The cistern pump beside the sink was all there was for plumbing. So primitive…and yet it seemed like paradise to me! Almost every day my brother, Bill, and I would quarrel about whose turn it was to clean the hearth and fill the grate. Seeing this as “manly” work, and proud to do our part - but knowing that - on mornings when we both would get up late - Grandpa’d have it cleaned and filled before we got the chance - we borrowed his alarm clock - set it right beside our bed - Thereby guaranteeing that we’d have the morning fire warming up the cabin - while the three of us were fed. Grandma’s giant pancakes - made with buttermilk and flour, and eggs we‘d helped her gather on the morning that we’d left - Gave us all the energy we’d need throughout the day to reel in fish, and handle all the wood we’d need to heft. Hard as it may be to picture two rambunctious siblings fighting over daily chores, I swear to you, it’s true. Every hour we spent with them we tried to do our part, and jumped at every chance we got for little jobs to do. Seeing how competitive we almost always were, Grandpa introduced us to the art of skipping rocks. He’d have us search the shallows with our toes to find contenders, and sometimes even let us dive beneath the neighbors’ docks. Things like front-or-back - in Grandpa’s boat, and - upper-bunk - were, of course, the types of chances we would hate to lose, So every now and then he’d grab a seat and watch us gather smoothly-flattened “saucer-rocks,” to vie for - “right to choose.” Billy - one year older - had a cannon for an arm, but I had looser shoulders…and an extra-bendy hip… And everyone who’s ever done a lot of skipping knows - it’s all about the flatness of the pebble…and…the “dip!” The skirmishes, of course, were brief, and though his skips were longer…my technique was better, and I usually garnered more. And I don’t think he ever figured out - it’s not the power…it’s dipping deep and whipping wide that usually wins the war! To this very day - when I am forced to make decisions - but not completely sure about the way I should respond, I’ll grab a store-bought saucer-rock (I found a source on line)…sneak out back to where there stands a large, inviting pond… Take a couple seconds to assess the situation…pose my great dilemma to the wisdom of the stone… Tip to where my elbow’s only inches off the ground…then exercise the talent that my Grandpa helped me hone. Three or less means…“No” - or “Don’t”...more means...“Yes - or “Do it.” It even works for colors - once they’re narrowed down to two. It keeps things pretty simple…and I’ll bet that - if you try… you, as well, may find that - skipping rocks - will work for you! PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) Cheers, Mark

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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