The Herald Bulletin
---- — It has been a tradition for our family to make at least one summer trip to Turkey Run Park. Having two fearless sons, it seemed more practical than visiting the art museum or anything else with breakables in an enclosed space. And now that we have a kicking-climbing-yelling-shooting grandson it doesn't appear the tradition is going to fade away anytime soon.
To be blunt, it's a place where you can turn the little heathens loose and let them burn up a lot of energy. It won't cost you much but a few Band-Aids.
We had heard rumors that the pedestrian suspension bridge across Sugar Creek was closed. This was cause for significant concern, as the bridge was the connection to our favorite trails in the park.
But we packed up our cooler and the 4-year-old and went anyway. Surely the Turkey Run official people would have made some alternate arrangements to cross the river, I reasoned. Maybe a rope to swing across? A ferry? Strategically placed rocks?
That something was a note on the brochure that we must follow trail one to the "Narrows Covered Bridge" in order to access the other side of the park.
This was great news. There was another bridge, another way to cross the river. Problem solved. Plus it sounded like a nice bridge with a roof and everything.
We set out on our quest to find the Narrows Covered Bridge.
About one-half mile into the treacherous, bug infested, muddy and sometimes water-logged journey, my grandson Cayden stopped and pointed up toward a boulder perched at the top of a steep hill.
"Papaw I wanna cwimb up there."
My husband Seth, who was sweating so profusely he looked like he had been swimming with his clothes on, glared at his grandson.
"Well climb up there."
"Pawaw I too scared." I had never heard Cayden Timmons claim to be scared to do anything.
Seth agreed with my thoughts. "Oh since when? It's probably just a phase."
"No I not a phase! GO WIT ME on dat hill!"
Seth groaned then, like a bear waking up from hibernation. I watched the two of them climb the hill holding hands. From behind they resembled Shrek and a munchkin. Sometimes it didn't appear that Cayden's feet were touching the ground.
When they came back down, Cayden's backside was muddy and Seth needed CPR.
We kept walking. We finally came upon the Narrows Covered Bridge. Which was built in 1882.
"It's awful old," I said. "Reckon it's safe?"
"It's fine. I'm hungry. And if my blood sugar drops we're gonna have a problem." Seth had clearly stopped having fun, probably about a mile back.
We crossed the bridge and forged ahead for miles. Cayden got his feet wet. Seth felt hypoclycemish. I needed a bathroom.
We finished hiking our preferred trails and reversed course, knowing that we had to backtrack and cross Narrows Covered bridge to get back to our car.
That's when Cayden plopped down on a log. He frowned and his little shoulders seem to sag.
"I tired. I had nough of Tukey Wun," he announced.
There is no arguing with a 4-year-old when he poops out. I heaved him to my shoulders. His wet feet dangled over my chest, his head drooped on my head. After a few minutes I passed him to his Papa for his turn as a pack mule.
Seth stepped back, adjusted the kid on his shoulders — then paused and took a long look at my shirt.
"What in the world is wrong with you?"
I looked down, and saw two nearly perfect round muddy wet spots strategically (and noticeably) staining my light-colored shirt. If one had to guess, it would appear I was lactating chocolate milk.
As far as I was concerned, it was time to go home.
The officials at Turkey Run had anticipated the needs of grandmas and grandpas visiting the park. A small sign was hammered to a tree near the bridge. "SHUTTLE SERVICE" with an arrow pointing in the right direction.
We can hardly wait till next year.
Theresa Timmons’ column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.