Monday, February 22, 2010

Boat Loads of Fun with the Crafts!

The Craft family has always been around water. Ever since I can remember we have had a boat. At first we always had a sail boat, then once we got old enough to do water sports we had a ski boat. My earliest memories of sailing are on Lake Gaston. We kept our boat at Eaton's Ferry Marina. The best part of Eaton's Ferry was buying a little bag of puppy chow to feed to the gigantic cat fish and carp that hang out by the gas tank. Usually our days on the lake were fun and relaxing, but one day in particular was very stressful. It all started when I had to go potty but Mom was too busy to take me to the bathroom. We had not even left the marina yet. She told me to go pee in the woods. So, like a good little girl I went into the woods. I remember taking my shorts off and putting them on the ground. Unfortunately, when I started peeing, or wetting in my family, I wet right onto my shorts. Oops. But I did have a bathing suit to wear for the rest of the day. So then we set out on the boat. The wind promptly carried us into a big section of weeds where we got stuck. Dad tried to use the motor to get us out, but the weeds just got all tangled around the turbines. Once we finally made our way out of the weeds, we decided to anchor and eat lunch and swim. I can still picture Dad standing on the bow of the boat holding the anchor, and swinging it out over the boat. Too bad he forgot to tie one end of the rope to the boat. All five of us watched our anchor sink to the bottom of the lake. No one wanted to say anything, we could all see how frustrated Dad was. We did make it back to the marina though, and we lived to sail another day.

Our favorite activity to do while sailing was rope riding. Dad would get a long rope and tie it to the back of the boat so it made a big loop in the water. Then, Sarah Margaret, Dennis, and I would put on life jackets and jump into the water. The rope would just slowly drag us behind the boat. It was very exciting for a preschooler. Sometimes it got too exciting and I would get acred and go ladder riding instead. I would just stand on the ladder off the back of the boat so Mom and Dad were still close by. On one outing I remember Dad let Sarah Margaret steer and he told her she was first mate. I immediately asked what my title was. They decided I would be the maid. I was so glad to have a title, that I didn't realize they were taking advantage of me. All day whenever someone wanted a drink or a snack I would run to go get it for them. I think Sarah Margaret's job was way better.

We did a few overnight trips on the sail boat too. Marg and I slept in the musty compartment in the bow of the boat. It was always very creepy how you could hear the water sloshing around outside. There were also a lot of pesky dirt dobbers down below that we had to kill too. Sailing was a fun family thing, but once we were old enough we decided we needed more speed. So we sold the sail boat and got a ski boat. I think Dad will own a sail boat again one day. Maybe next time I can be first mate. A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Importance of a Valentine-or 9

This memory is one of my Grandmama Ruth's favorite of me. You know how Grandmamas tend to retell the same stories over and over? Well this is one of her classics about me.

My parent's had gone out of town so Grandmama Ruth had come to stay with Sarah Margaret, Dennis, and me. I was in first grade at the time. It was the week of Valentine's day and my class was going to have a party on Friday. (Side note: elementary school parties are the best. It's like the room moms need to show their superiority to the other room moms so they go all out.) We had made little mail boxes to put on our desks out of milk cartons so that we could receive all the wonderful Valentines that our classmates would give us. I feel like everyone harbored that secret fear that their mailbox would be empty on Valentine's Day...or maybe it was just me. Anyway, we decorated our milk cartons with paper hearts and crayon scribbles, they were all so beautiful and anxiously awaiting the cards and candy that would fill them. My teacher, Mrs. Daniels, sent out the class list so that we would know how many Valentines to buy and to make sure we would not forget anyone. Of course my class was too big for one box of Valentine's to be enough, so I had to buy two boxes and have so many left overs. I always wondered what to do with my left over Valentines, but in first grade I found a use for them.

I remember being at the drug store and picking out Valentines with arctic animals on them. The specific card I remember had a penguin on it and it said "You are so chill, Valentine." I loved them. So I laid out all my cards on the table and began the painstakingly slow process of a first grader writing every name in her class. I gave the cute ones to my best friends and the ugly ones to the people I didn't really like, or the boys who I thought had cooties. However, there was one boy in particular that I was sure did not have cooties and his name was Cody. So when I was left with nine extra Valentines and no one to give them to, I decided that they should all go to Cody. When Grandmama came in to see if I was finished she noticed the ridiculous number of cards with Cody's name and hearts around it on them. Being a wise woman, she asked me if I really thought that Cody would like me just because I gave him nine Valentines. I said yes, that would make him like me. Well I was right.

The week after Valentine's Day and our class party, Cody was chosen to be Student of the Week. In Mrs. Daniels' class one of the privileges of being student of the week was getting to sit on the big red couch during story time with one friend of your choice. Well every day that week Cody chose me to sit on the couch with him. I could tell it was getting serious when he gave me a ring that he had won in a gumball machine. It was lime green plastic with a shiny silver triangle on top. Unfortunately, before I could even put it on my finger he got embarrassed and threw it behind the couch. I guess that was the end of Caroline and Cody. O well. My nine Valentines were worth it for that one week of story time on the big red couch.

Sometimes people can diminish the importance of a Valentine, but if you think back to your elementary school parties I think everyone will remember how special they felt when they were going through their milk carton mailbox and reading all the little notes people had written. The ones with candy attached were especially exciting. Sometimes it takes nine Valentines just to tell someone how you feel. Grandmama still thinks it was a silly plan.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dandelions- The Craft Children's Cash Crop

Every Spring dandelions would start popping up all over our yard, and all over our neighbors yards. The little yellow flowers were everywhere! We also had the fluffy white dandelion seed pods in abundance. One year Dad had had enough. He did not want the pesky weeds in our yard anymore. He gathered us together and told the three of us that we would pay us $0.10 for every dandelion that we picked that season. The three of us happily agreed to that. So we went out into the yard to start picking. We soon realized that we could easily pick all the dandelions in our yard in one afternoon. That would not be very profitable. So we started picking the seed pods too and blowing them around of course. That way more dandelions would soon sprout up and we could make more money. Also, if we knew that Mom and Dad were not watching us we would go over into the neighbors' yards and pick a lot of their dandelions. At the end of every week Dad would count up our dandelions and pay us what we had earned. It was a great system. Not too much work and a lot of reward. $0.10 can add up quickly, especially when you are 9. All in all I made $30.00 that Spring. I thought I was rich. But really, 300 dandelions is not that many. I am sure I spent the money on something really important like Pound Puppies or a new Barbie outfit. Sarah Margaret and Dennis made even more money than I did. Dad did not offer us the same bargain next Spring. I guess he would rather have a few dandelions in the yard than pay us over $100 to pick them.