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A Creek, My Dad, and Me

I’m excited to share that The Crowder Quill 2018 is now available for free download. You can download it here: Crowder Quill 2018. This award winning publication is packed with gripping stories and beautiful art. I highly recommend checking it out.

It was one week ago today that I attended The Crowder Quill’s awards ceremony and poetry reading. I won Silver in the Nonfiction category with my narrative, “A Creek, My Dad, and Me,” which is published in this fine magazine. I had a wonderful time and appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making The Crowder Quill such an amazing piece of literary greatness.

I realize that some of you may not want to download the whole magazine or have time to read the great stories nestled within. So, as promised, my dear readers, I’m sharing my story with you here.

A Creek, My Dad, and Me by Margarite R. Stever

My dad loved many things, but being outside was really close to the top of the list. It didn’t matter if he was mowing a field, planting trees, fishing for catfish, or hunting for deer. He just loved being in the great outdoors.

After his heart surgery several years ago, he decided that if he was supposed to walk around for exercise, he could do it just as well in the woods as he could on the treadmill. So, one day while I was visiting, we decided to go and get some heart healthy exercise. I didn’t know that day would become one of my most cherished memories.

We hopped in Dad’s truck and set out for our adventure. It was November. Winter hadn’t hit yet, but the weather was brisk. We were bundled up appropriately and only planned to stay for an hour or so, so we wouldn’t catch a chill. We checked on the pecan and walnut trees that we had lovingly planted to make sure they were healthy. We took a few minutes to just enjoy the fall colors and the songs of late migrating birds.

We found several animal tracks. The animals had been active in the preceding days due to the relatively mild temperatures. We found tracks for raccoons, deer, rabbits, bobcats, and even some squirrels. Tracking was one of the skills that Dad had insisted on teaching me when I was a child. He told me, “You should always be aware of what animals may be nearby. It’s best to avoid some of them. You sure don’t want to mess with a bobcat.”

We were having a very pleasant afternoon until Dad decided that he wanted to check the field across the creek. The creek is only a few yards across and usually not very deep. However, we’d been experiencing a great deal of rain, which made the water fairly deep and swift. Dad, being a sure-footed country boy, hopped across the creek using some large rocks as stepping stones. He crossed quickly and without incident.

I am not the most graceful person in the world, and I have very short legs. I tried to follow Dad, anyway. I hopped on one rock and then another. A few feet from the creek bank, I hopped on a moss covered rock that was extremely slippery. I could feel myself slipping off the rock, so I flapped my arms frantically fighting for balance. I fell into the icy water with a big splash and landed flat on my butt.

My jacket absorbed the water like a thirsty elephant, and within seconds it weighed a good thirty pounds. A look of abject horror crossed Dad’s face until I finally stood up in the creek and told him that I felt like a water buffalo. He laughed so hard that I was afraid he might hurt himself. He laughed the entire time I fought my way to the bank and out of the water.

We took a quick hike around the far field that Dad was so keen on checking, and then found a narrower place to cross the creek on the way back to the truck. To Dad’s credit, he turned the heater on full force and pointed all of the vents at me. He loaned me a pair of his sweat pants when we got back to his house, so I could be a little more comfortable while my jeans were in the washer losing a healthy amount of creek mud.

Dad had the best time telling my husband all about our afternoon adventure. He laughed through the entire story. “It’s a shame you had to work today because you missed your wife’s swim in the creek. She couldn’t keep her balance and fell right in! She looked like that coyote in the cartoons waving her arms around like she thought it would do any good.”

While I didn’t think the episode was very humorous, my dad had a great time. That day was the last time I went to the woods with my dad. He became extremely ill shortly after our afternoon exploits. He was too sick to walk around by the next spring. His kidneys shut down, and he passed on to that great wilderness in the sky five years later. I’m really happy that I took that accidental swim because it became my dad’s favorite story.

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