Fridays At the Funny Farm: The Oolie Goolie Swamp Affair

Fridays At the Funny Farm: The Oolie Goolie Swamp Affair

“Mama, I have your next Friday Funny!”

Grace and I had a chat the other day about this week’s Fridays At the Funny Farm post.  She asked what I had planned.  I said, I’d considered either The Great Rabbit Roundup or Lambs: Tag You’re It.  She was afraid we’d eventually run out of hijinks.  I figure with three kids and a farm full of animals, we have a never ending supply.  After our chat, I went to bed.  (I’m a night nurse and a day sleeper.) When I woke, she greeted me at the foot of the stairs.  With barely repressed giggles, she spoke the line above.

While I was sleeping, the kids had an adventure (or misadventure) in funny farm life.  I slept through the whole thing, so what follows is a ‘reenactment’ based on extensive interviews with all the major characters.  I am quite grateful to have slept through this event,  I think I was traumatized by all the life or death quicksand moments in 1970’s television!

We free-range our kids.  They’re encouraged to run, play, and explore our property.  The only caveats are: 1) Take your cell phone, 2) Let someone know you are going, and 3) Keep an eye out for snakes.  The younger kids, not-so-patiently bear the mixed curse/blessing of an annoyingly over-protective big brother.  So, apparently, there was a bit of a discussion when Sam wanted to go on a solitary ramble.  Jonah decreed, that since spring has sprung and snakes are uncoiling to slither out, the kids should only be allowed out in pairs.  After a conversation involving phrases like, “Well, Mama said…” and “You’re not the boss of me”, Sam (cell phone in hand) wandered out to battle invaders, stalk deer, look for hobbits, or whatever it is boys do when they wander through woods and pasture.


Allow me to set the scene:  Our farm is located on black clay soil.  If you’ve never actually seen this dirt, it can be hard to understand it’s attack-dirt qualities.  When it’s dry, it’s black concrete!  In the heat of Texas summers, it’s impossible to dig even a few inches.  I grew up riding horses on this soil.  I can tell you from personal experience, that if you fall off and land on this clay, it wins and bones lose (twice).  During summer, the soil bakes and cracks like badly fired pottery.  We develop cracks in the ground so wide, that cattle and horses can actually break a leg if they step into one.  We’ve lost tools, pocket knives, and on one memorable occasion car keys in these great chasms!

However, we’ve had heavy spring storms recently.  That completely changes the landscape!  The clay soaks up water, and becomes the Texas equivalent of the La Brea Tarpits!  That vicious and viscous mud will suck the boots off your feet, grab car tires and try to export the car via subterranean routes to China, and make you want a safety rope when going in to feed pigs!  Seriously, it’s thick, goopy, and ubiquitous!

Sam was stealthily sneaking through the trees as he hunted deer, orcs, bandits, or ‘wabbits’.  Whatever his quarry, it was apparently holed up near the creek. This creek is a dry bed during summer, but begins to flow in autumn, trickles through the winter, until spring when it swells from the deluge.  Last weekend, the kids took pictures of the creek rushing and splashing.  It was over the banks, from a recent storm, but has since receded.  Where it had overflowed, it left areas of thoroughly saturated black goo behind.  (Do you see where I’m going with this?)

Sam waded through the slimy goo to peer into the creek bed.  Suddenly, the area where he stood became a mudslide.  Sam threw up his hands, grabbed for a tree limb, missed, and felt the earth give way completely.  Suddenly, he was hurtling down the world’s filthiest luge run.  He grabbed for trees and bushes, but succeeded only in slowing his slide and thoroughly coating himself in black gunge.  Finally, he came to land with a squashy thump at the edge of the creek.

The perilous part of the adventure seemed at an end, but then he tried to stand.  He immediately sank to mid-shin in the Oolie-Goolie Swamp.   By dint of hard work, determination, and sheer refusal to call for help, he eventually extricated himself. When he prepared to make the slippery climb back to the surface world he discovered his way barred by the greatest evil on the planet: Fire Ants!

We have the Fire Ant Swamp, instead of the Fire Swamp!

Deciding he would rather brave the Grimpen Mire than have his flesh eaten by the horde of demonic insects, Sam carefully picked his way through the creek bed.  Things were going well,…until they didn’t.  He suddenly found himself sinking even further into goo than before.  He squirmed, struggled, flailed, and fought, but eventually had to admit that he was caught fast.  Morosly, he fumbled out his phone and called Grace for backup.

Being the kind, loving sister she is, Grace told him he was an idiot and then took off on a rescue mission.  She, in her turn, managed to drop her phone on the way to the pasture and had to locate a lost brother stuck in a hole without aid of directions or SAT-NAV.  Upon finally finding him, she set about trying to extract her unfortunate brother.

Pretend this is black mud, instead of beach sand.

This becomes even funnier when you realize that Grace might tip the scale at 100 lbs if she was soaking wet and had rocks in her pockets.  Sam, who is eighteen months older, outweighs her by about forty pounds.  She also had no solid ground to work from, since he was caught in a giant mud-slick.

NOTE: If you’re wondering why they didn’t phone Jonah for help, you clearly don’t have siblings.  Yes, Jonah is over 200 lbs of feed bag toting farm boy, but calling him would be a violation of the Sibling Code of Honor.  You see, it’s totally acceptable to call your brother an idiot or tease him about looking like the tar baby from Brer Rabbit.  However, you never, never expose his predicament to a sibling who’ll put his hands on his hips look down his nose and say, “Well, I’m not going to say I told you so.  But, I totally told you so!”  (While smirking and explaining, that you’re NEVER going to live down this moment.)

Grace tugged.  Sam struggled.  She pulled.  He thrashed.  She called him an idiot again.  But finally, she was able to wrest him from the slimy depths.  Unfortunately, his boots refused to be rescued and remained firmly planted in the muck.  Grace had to reach into the mud and pull his boots out one at a time.  The mud released a slurpy suctioning protest as it surrendered each boot.  When she turned to toss him his boots, she discovered that her own boots were stuck fast.

So, she carefully climbed out of the boots and put her feet on the most solid ground available.  Repeating the slurp-suction process, she regained her first boot.  However, when she pulled at the second, it held fast.  Planting her feet, bracing her legs, and leaning all her weight into the struggle, Grace fought for her boot.  The mud with an anthropomorphic sense of humor let go in one sudden release.

The resulting snap catapulted Grace backward several feet and ended with her splashing bum first into the five inch deep (very cold) water at the creek’s edge.  She closed her eyes, took several deep breaths, and called her brother an idiot (again).

Scratched, scraped, exhausted and disgustingly filthy, Sam shoved his mud covered feet back into his completely mud filled boots.  Wet, cold, and mucky Grace did the same.  They still had to navigate the creek bed to a point they could climb up.  Then, they faced the trek all the way back to the house.

By the time I woke and was dressed for work, both kids were scrubbed and tubbed, the incriminating laundry had been washed, the boots had been hosed off and were drying in the sunshine.  When my kids were small, I always wanted to be there to rescue them.  However, I’ll be honest and admit that I’m very glad to have been tucked up in bed rather than wading in the Oolie-Goolie Swamp.  Maybe there is something to this whole responsible independent teenager thing!  I mean, I didn’t even have to do the laundry!

Has anyone else been reenacting the quicksand scenes from Batman and Robin or Gilligan’s Island?  No?  Hmm.  Must just be my kids then.  Please, leave me a comment and share your own crazy kid moments.  Seriously, I need to feel like I’m not alone in the silliness!

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  1. I would tell some of my kid’s adventures, but you know them all!! Lol AND…..I.can sooo see Jonah standing, hands on hips, looking smug, “not” telling them he told them so!! Lol

    1. He actually admitted to it, when he read the post. Then, he turned to Sam and said, “Well, I DID tell you so!” He looked a little bemused, when we all started laughing at him! Thanks, for commenting!

    1. Right? There’s something to be said for kids growing up! Some days, I miss having little ones. Then, I remember that they can all get dressed and ready to leave the house in twenty minutes…and their hair is even combed! Definite perks! Thanks, for stopping by and commenting!

    1. Donna,
      Thanks! By the time I woke up, they were able to see the funny side. However, at the time, I think there might have been some serious grumpiness going on. That’s a very long walk with mud and pebbles stuck in your boots. I asked Sam permission to tell the story on the blog, and he replied, “Sure. It’s funny. Just don’t make me look like too much of an idiot!” I love it when one minute they are pretending like small kids and the next they are acting like mature adults! Thanks, for stopping by! Have a wonderful Easter!

  2. Many years ago when my grown children were small, we had a tree come down after heavy rain. The roots completely gave way leaving a wide hole in the ground, The hole quickly filled with rain and the red clay soil made it quite an ikky mess. I went looking for Miss 3 and Master 5. I walked around the corner to two small mud monsters, sitting in the hole. The only way to identify who was who was one had blue eyes and one had green eyes.

    1. Oooh, I bet that red clay stains too! When we lived in Oklahoma, I accidentally ‘dyed’ several pairs of socks by stepping in mud. I love that sometimes the things that make you want to pull your hair out as a mom are the things that make you smile years later! When I was about four, my dad sent me out to play in the rain. I was wearing a little pink gingham bathing suit. By the time my mom came home, the suit was brown and I looked like one of your mud monsters! My mom still hasn’t let me live it down! Forty-three years later, she still mourns the loss of that bahing suit. But, she grins as she teases me about it! Have a great week!

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