That's what that is in the photo -- a chute. They're used to round up cattle and load them into a truck. (Just in case you didn't know.)
Obviously, this one is no longer in service. (Note the tree growing through the middle of it.)
My grandparents used to have one on their farm. It was a fascinating thing. In the summertime -- since there was never any livestock nearby -- my cousins and I would spend hours upon hours scaling the wooden fences, running up and down the corridor leading to the end of the chute. We'd then jump off into the loose soft sand of the lane.
I don't ever remember complaining about the gawd-awful heat. Although, I do remember assisting in the depletion of grandma's seemingly endless supply of Strawberry Shasta Cola.
In the wintertime, we'd bundle up and trek out to the western woods (okay, okay, it was thick grove of trees on the west side of my grandma's house) where we had converted a pile of rusting clunkers into thieves' paradise. I tricked out my clunker -- the shell of an old Chevy -- with some carpet remnants I'd found in my grandma's garage and dubbed it "The Bratmobile."
(I think I even have pictures somewhere.)
I don't remember complaining about the bitter cold. Although, I do remember being quarantined to the bedroom with my cousin, Lisa, while our pants and socks dried in the dryer. I also remember that there were many, many doors in her house, and we oftentimes sneaked upstairs to try on old clothes and hats that had to have been left from another era.
So, you ask, why is any of this important? Well, besides being the mortar in the foundation of my life, these memories -- and others like them -- started flooding back as I began working on my new WiP Whisper.
I'm kind of stuck, and I was hoping I could get some help firing up the old brain storm.
The story is told from the perspective of a young girl in the early 1970s, and much of it is set in rural Nebraska. (Hey, I'm just writing what I know.) As a girl who was born and raised in small-town Nebraska, I know what kinds of things she will do to keep her "off the streets of Hadar" (as one of my co-workers would say).
The problem is she has been plucked from her home in the big city and placed in this rural setting. I need to give this girl some mortar.
So, I need to know about the "mortar ingredients" for city-kid foundations. I'm hoping to get some of you to share some of your favorite childhood moments, so I can get the ball of creativity rolling inside my head.