Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sandstone Creek

I was bantering with some Louisiana boys just the other day about the word creek. I say creek - they say kreck. There’s run and kill, stream, and many others, but where I grew up it was creek.

When I was small boy we lived on Gordon Road, just down the road from Tompkins Center and Sandstone Creek crossed the road just down the hill from the house. It was a dirt road then, the bridge was red, rusty metal with boards for tire tracks. In between the tire boards was space and water below. It used to scare me to death to cross the bridge - I thought for sure we would plunge headlong into the creek never to be seen again. The boards were just too skinny to support a car, or so I thought. I was terrified and excited all at the same time whenever we approached the crossing. It was replaced in about 1964.

Tompkins Center was a branch in the road and one store then. The store was every bit a country store and it too sat beside Sandstone Creek. You could buy nails and shovels and food and beer. Everyone knew my Grandpa, who used to take me there almost everyday while getting something (for my Grandma, who never drove, ever). I most often got a candy bar - Heath bars were my favorite. I would eat all the chocolate off then eat the center like a sucker. (Sucker is another one of those regional words) My Grandfather is buried just up the hill, about 100 yards from the store.

Sandstone creek ran clear; the banks were steep and generally sandy, always surrounded by trees edged with corn fields, and then small farms. The creek started at Minards Mill, just about two miles from our house. The mill was gone, many years past, and just a dam remained forming a shallow, lily-filled lake of maybe twenty-acres. Sandstone creek ran through the fields and farms of my youth and then into the Grand River. The Grand wasn't so clear, but the creek was glorious. Its clarity exemplified the times, my youth, and the country life as it exists in most people's imagination. The barns, the woods, and simple carefree freedom we enjoyed have now been replaced.

Just down from the store the creek cut steeply into the bank and someone put a rope swing. In the summer the water was cool and deep. If you swung too far the result wouldn't be very pretty. I would have to say the rope swings in the barns were far worse. I’m surprised we survived. I don't think anyone would ever allow a swing there today.

Although, Sandstone Creek is still there, I fear it is gone forever - changed by sands of time that our modern world blows too quickly away.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:35 AM

    I lived in the second house on Tompkins Rd. My parents bought the mill house. I remember many a days spent in that creek, canoing and fishing and swimming yet always had a watchful eye for the dreaded MUD PUPPY. I had a blast growing up there. A little town frozen in time, for a while a least. Truly a wonderful place to grow up.


Leave A Comment

Hey! Leave a comment - good, bad, short, long, whatever. I'd like to hear from you.