Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crispy's B'n'arrows

Our granddaughter Christa is twenty-five now, but she once was much younger. I'm thinking that she may have been about the age or our youngest granddaughter, who is five, when she became interested in a "bow'n'arrow". We first selected a twig from the brittle japanese varnish trees which grow so fast and prolifically around the grounds.

Later, I set about to make a nicer bow, using a technique I'd read about which was reputedly used by some Native Americans, using a much springier and nicer wood, I think I remember from the flowering quince. I was quite proud of it.

Lately, my wife has become interested in "divesting", and has tried (with a little bit of success) to clear out some of the clutter from the attic. I applaud her efforts, but I'm not sure it's a task that will be easily or soon accomplished.

When I found these ancient relics among the trash, I was struck with a fit of nostalgia (with me, It's so easy to incite a fit of nostalgia). Crispy was always more fond of the old brittle one, while Papa would gaze fondly on the prettier one and wonder, "why?"

I record them here on Flickr, knowing that they now may rest in peace in the landfill.

In the year that I was four, I craved two things. One was a swing, and the other was a "bow'n'arrow". My dad and granddad made me a swing, suspended from a tree in the front yard.

I was immediately skeptical, because it was a singlerope swing. I had thought a swing needed two ropes that you sat between instead of straddling the single rope.

I found right away that a single rope swing could be even more fun than the traditional, until an overnight shower one day shrunk the rope beyond my reach. Of course, the swing eventually returned to normal, and I learned something about ropes in the year that I was four.

One day, I was over at granny's house when my granddad came in with a substantial hickory stick, which he'd found in the woods. (Granddad was a logger, and the woods was where his work was). I was never able to see a bow in that stick, which was probably about 7/8" thick. It stood in the corner untouched until a short time later, my dad found a potential job down on the coast, and we moved away.

I think I was a teenager when someone showed me a beautiful bow he'd made using an ash hoe handle, and I saw for the first time, a drawknife. It was then I realized that granddad and I had visualized a "bow'n'arrow" differently. I became certain that he had planned to MAKE a bow out of that hickory stick, not just to fasten a string to it, the way I had it pictured.

It was not too long after we left East Texas that granddad hurt his leg in the woods and moved his family to Houston, where he worked as a night watchman. I'll never know what became of the hickory stick.



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