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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, May 12, 2006


In today's environment of safety seats and straps, even the very young can have the thrill of swinging. This is in contradiction to the "old days" and having to be old enough to hold on to the ropes or chains that held the swing seat. Of course, if you didn't hold on, the gravity of the situation took over and you usually wound up with abrasions and/or contusions - this creating incentive to hold on next time.

Memories of my much younger years are a bit murky, but I remember having trouble learning how to propel myself on a swing - as opposed to being pushed by someone else. The older kids were swinging without being pushed, but somehow I had difficulty with this self propelling action. After finally grasping the principles, I found it as easy as falling out of a swing.

This great knowledge has now been passed on to others, including the two grand ones that are old enough to know to hold on. The swing seats of today seem to be more of a large pouch rather than the hard wooden ones of the past. These older seats were much easier to jump out of at great height, thrilling oneself, other watchers and maybe even the medical personnel that came to pick you up and put you back together.

Another type of swing is the rope in a tree with an auto tire tied on the end of it. One of these is relatively simple to make, yet offers many hours of fun time swinging. More simple still is just a rope tied high in a tree. This is done many times near a body of water to make it possible for the swinger to drop off at the point in their outward swing that would enable them to splash into a creek, river or even a mud-hole.

Problems involved in this latter activity is letting go the rope at the wrong time and falling on the bank or not letting go at all and crashing back into the tree. These mistakes in judgment can cause loss of portions of outer epidermis and/or colorful bruises and/or necessitate stitches in the skin - with the additional possibility of bone fractures.

The decline in popularity of the old-fashioned porch swing is lamentable but was bound to happen because these instruments of relaxation took much too much time. These swings had room enough for two or three people and were places that real conversations could take place - what a concept! This seat of movement was also a place where many romances were started - or continued.

These swings of old were hung by chains to hooks that were firmly embedded (hopefully) in the support wood of the ceiling of the porch. The weight of the swing and swingers would usually cause a slight squeak-squawk when it was in operation, thereby having the effect of calming the nerves of the swingers. Today most folks don't take time to calm their jangled nerves in such a fashion and seem determined to emotionally run themselves into the ground.

A swing substitute would be some sort of rocking chair, plus this is not as dangerous for us older folks. My personal preference is the glider rocker, even though it doesn't have the calming squeak-squawk noise when in operation. The chair of this type in my possession is the one given to me for Christmas 1996. This gift coincided with my return home from hernia surgery and was my favorite and only seat for several weeks.

This chair is still my favorite and my most often one of occupation - and not just because it has all the remotes in the side pockets. Many times I just sit and rock, sometimes even in the dark, thinking about the affairs and complexities of life. Times of prayer happen there as well, having the effect of giving peace and the proper answers to the questions in my life. ec


Blogger Granny said...

The playground swing may soon become a thing of the past. The tire swings in our parks here were removed.

All for "safety" reasons. I wonder how you and I lived to grow up.

5/13/2006 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger itsboopchile said...

I must tell you about the swing my uncles built in Memphis when I was in grade school.
First they had boards nailed up a tree for climbing.
Then they had a cable going over the tennis court to another tree's base. We had a 6-acre front yard.
They had a bag swing on a long rope, hanging for bringing it back to the tall tree.
So, you can guess. You climbed the tree, they held the bag swing for you to wrap your legs around and then let go.
You sailed down to the other tree and then it was time for someone else to ride and the uncles hauled it the swing back up by the long dangling rope.
Did you follow me??
Now, I have two of the swings you see everywhere on the patio and I wish it would warm up so I could sit out there!! High 46 today.
See you, Betty G

5/13/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

Some of my favorite times in life have happened on a porch swing, a tire swing, or a playground swing. I ADORE swinging!!!

5/13/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - Yes indeed, it is a wonder we survived. Just got back in town today and need to catch up on things.

boopchile - That sounds like real fun - it is what they call a zip line nowadays. The only time I was up close and personal with one was when I went as chaperone to a church teen outing. It was a little scary for this old man. :)

jayleigh - Many memories of mine involve swings as well, I guess I'm a real swinger - the good kind. :) ec

5/13/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Using up the words.... said...

instantly started dreaming of the porch swing. We don't have those here - but I can remember many late nights outside chatting in KY and AL upon one. Such sweet, warm nights. And to add to the atmosphere, lightening bugs!

I'm with Jay.... I LOVE to swing!

5/14/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

UUTW - Porch swings seem to be passing from most houses and most don't know the delights of just swinging and talking - solving the problems of life with squeak-squawk of swing movement. ec

5/14/2006 07:58:00 PM  

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