1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Train Up a Child: In the Garden of the (Ferry's) Gods(mother)

Early Fall view of Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

The imagination that stretches farther than the eye can see, into the sediments that were laid down under heat and pressure and then fractured, now constantly eroded by time and the elements of nature, this imagination becomes fertile ground. SAM has just such an imagination, and he doesn't mind sharing some of it with Grandson (peeking over Grandpa's shoulder) on a sunny day in early October, sitting on a rock formation in the Garden of the Gods.

Where will this imagination take them and us (Son and I were along for the ride)? To the great Ohio River dividing two states, Illinois and Kentucky, the same river that carries raw materials for a great nation to build itself up can also carry currents of destruction.

Looking inside Cave-in-Rock

Storms of discontent grow the river into a wild, frothy, water-breathing dragon. It leaves its boundaries and carves a cave for pirates to hide in. They lie in wait for the next unsuspecting victim to come along, someone who will listen to a Grandma's story about a ferry...and its god-smother.

The ferry takes the family safely across the river this time, but it wasn't so lucky on one particular day. On that unlucky day, the ferry's chain that ties it up so that vehicles and their passengers can safely load and unload was broken by the weight of a dump truck carrying rocks from a nearby quarry. The steel from which the chain was made was imported from another country, one which didn't pay attention to quality but was only concerned with selling lots of chains. Now our ferry wasn't about to let a broken chain keep it from its appointed rounds, back and forth across the mighty Ohio River. So it calls on its god-smother.

"God-smother," says the Ferry. "You've been sitting in the backseat, breathing down everyone's neck on this trip and slobbering too. What do you suggest that I do?"

Well, the all-knowing god-smother thought for a while and then came up with a solution. "Use that thick, well-made, American rope to hold the two ends of the chain together. Tie them up nice and tight with one of those knots you learned in the Navy. And from now on, don't buy any more chains from that country that doesn't care about quality. Buy a chain made from good old-fashioned steel crafted right here in the U.S. Now let's get across this river and go to Marion, Kentucky, so I can show you one of the key ingredients for making that strong steel."

"Here it is, fluorspar, once mined in Illinois and Kentucky, now imported from that other country and showcased at the Clement Mineral Museum." The godsmother could have talked all day about the risks and benefits of imports to this nation's economy, but Grandson's attention span wouldn't stretch that far. Besides, he had lots of pretty rocks to admire and a grandpa nearby who could tell him all about them if he had any questions. And what little boy doesn't have questions?

The family left the museum, drove back to the river, and boarded the ferry once more for the trip over to Illinois. End of story? Not until this imagination runs out of ideas, and that won't happen...

...unless the rocks cry out.


  1. Dear Walk2write,
    it is so good to have fine stories to tell to one's grandson! And to have a grandchild (we will still have to wait a little bit). The steel story shows, that it is worth to spend good money on good things. Your photos are impressing, thank you!

  2. That is the best with grandson and grandpa...teaching down through the generations! Grandma teaches a few too!

  3. Britta, the story of the ferry and its god-smother came about because of Grandson's quizzical look when we explained that we would be riding on a ferry across the river (something he's never done before). I realized that he thought we were saying "fairy." So on the way to the museum, that ferry obtained a god-smother that saved the day. Without realizing it, Grandson got a spelling lesson (on his day off from school!), a history lesson, and a geology lesson, not to mention a chance to help his granny craft a story for him. I hope your Grandma days are coming soon!

    Julie, I was always a little jealous of the rapport that my parents had with our kids. They could be little monsters for me at times and little angels whenever the grands were in charge. Thank goodness, I'm finally beginning to understand the dynamics of that relationship.

  4. Beautiful vistas to explore with Grandson--I bet he won't soon forget that amazing cave! And I'm sure he learned a lot of memorable lessons as well from Grandpa and Grandma (I chuckled at your comment about the ferry/fairy). We would all do well to heed the lesson about buying cheap imports instead of quality American products.

  5. SAM and you are clearly wonderful grandparents. What gorgeous country to explore! I hope those chains hold.

  6. Cave-in-rock looks full of wonders. The power of imagination is so great as to save the life of Scheherazade of A Thousand and One Nights:) Your grandson must be very lucky to have grandparents like you! My grandson is only 8 month-old now but I've come to realize grandchildren are special!

  7. Children surely are the repository of imagination. I like the way you and Sam nurture. Too bad so many are so lucky....