DAY 3: Five Day Challenge Assignment: “Free Range Kids”

He Mused to Himself


Sitting on the sofa, by the window…reminiscing.  Somehow the conversation turned to kids today and he comments (as much to himself as to anyone in the room) that as soon as the sun was up, he was dressed and outside and his mother didn’t see him till the sun was going down.  He recollects, how nice that she didn’t have to worry about him getting abducted, molested or some other fear mothers of today possess.  (Nowadays, we rarely let the kids even play in the front yard without supervision.)



I never tire of hearing “The Indian-Way-Of Cooking-a-Chicken” story.  

When he was a lad, he and his pals would get up early and head for the hills.  This was quite a hike out of town.  They made one stealth stop on their way to the mountain, a neighbor’s chicken coop.  


Once they arrived at their chosen location, up in the mountains, the first thing they would do is to dig a fire pit and get a good fire going. They would then kill the chicken by chopping it’s head off and smear the carcass all over with thick mud.  After it was completely covered in this layer of mud, they would put it in the fire pit and cover it in coals and leave it to cook while they went off and played like they were wild Indians up in the mountains.

Upon returning, they would fork the cooked chicken out of the coals and crack the hardened mud off of it.  The feathers and skin would all come off with the mud they were stuck to.  (This was the punch line of this particular story, how easy it was for our first Native Americans to pluck a chicken.)  They’d eat the meat, picking around the gut area.

He is a natural story-teller, weaving lots of intricate details into these tales.  As a listener, you feel you are right there, reliving those experiences with him.  I could see myself whooping and hollering, running wild and free through the hills and forests with that pure freedom only kids with no adult supervision or intervention can experience.

Imagination turned loose.

They weren’t bad boys.  Just good chums up in the hills playing Indian.  I guess if the worst thing they ever did was to steal a chicken or two in the follies of youth, they will still pass through those pearly gates.

The days of his youth are not far away.  They live on, in his stories and in him, embedded into the very marrow of bone and tissue that make him who he is.  They live because he lives.

A living testament to the makings of free-range child, deep-rooted into this sure and steady man.

“California Dreaming”




In these dank, dark days immediately following the gaiety and anticipation gearing up towards Christmas….what is it I turn to (besides seed catalogs) to get through these long months till spring?

It happened very spontaneously this morning as I was pouring over photos for this blog.  I came across so many from our past family reunions and got all excited about where we would go this year.  In happy excitement, I sent a group text to all my adult kids and their quick response was surprisingly overwhelming.  (I guess they needed that certain “umph” to perk themselves up as well.)

We are all such “roadies”, this was a topic everyone enthusiastically jumped on board with.  The group-texting that ensued was like a shot in the arm!

QUOTE:   Shakespeare says:  “Things are with more fervor chased than enjoyed” and yes, in most cases I have found this to be true although when we get together, far from home, I think the “doing” lives up to “the planning”.

We’ve had some dandy reunions in the past!  Camping on the beach in southern CA and staying at a first class resort in Sedona, AZ are the two that top the list of the “biggies”, although simpler times closer to home and much more affordable have been fantastic as well.

Just getting together is rewarding, no matter where we are.  Even my ex and his wife come, as it’s nearly impossible to get all these working adults and kids with their activities together at the same time so we share them.  It works out wonderful for me because two sets of grandparents offer extra help and “reinforcement”.

Southern California holds a special spot in our hearts as this was where we went on our very first Family Reunion.  For most of us desert rats, the beach was an extraordinary experience, escaping from the hot, parched desert to cool, ocean air and beach sand between our toes! We’ve returned to the same camp ground two years running and, oh, it was wonderful!


In my group text this morning, I suggested we go back there again this year.  (We haven’t been for about three years.)  Immediately, the whole gang was involved in a group text and, as always, other mischievous rattlings erupt that get us really going in this zany conversation.  It often turns into a good natured, albeit, taunting roasting session for someone.  Lots of tossing out of ideas and absurdities get texted so fast you can barely keep up with who said what.  My girls are especially irreverent at times like this and practically anything goes.  How I love this diverse group of children I raised who somehow turned into the most awesome adults I know.  The family bond is strong in spite of  different lifestyles and geographical distances that threaten to separate us.  We overcome these obstacles in our ongoing activities to reunite in large and small ways and, of course, the family reunion is the champion in bringing everyone together for the longest period of time;  to be a close family again as we eat, play, camp together with no short time limit baring down on us.  As a parent and grandparent, it’s beyond amazing.  Heaven on earth!

There’s nothing like planning some future event to perk up these long winter days and give us something to look forward to!

 Our favorite camping place in Southern California: San Clemente State Beach Park

Here are a few photos to sum up the trip:




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