summer afternoon, three of us boys went to our old swimming hole
down on Souenlovie Creek. It was a nice wide and deep place just
down stream from the Boykin Bridge. We called it that because
the Boykin family lived only about 75 yards north of the bridge.
We had a diving board and there was an old wooden flat bottom
boat there that belonged the Boykin family. They didn't worry
about us using it so long as we returned it and tied it up. We
had tried just every thing we could think of as a swimming
adventure. So we took the boat and paddled it downstream to see
what we could find. After traveling about a half mile down
stream, we found a large tree with a Muscadine grape vine about
2 inches in diameter that was growing on a limb up about 70
feet. It probably took nearly a hundred years for it to reach
that size. The vine was located on a little bluff about 10 ft
above the creek so we figured that it would make a great swing.
The next day we returned with an ax and chopped the vine off
about three feet above the ground and cleared off the stump. It
made a great swing. We could swing out over the creek and drop
off into the water from about 15 feet up. It was great fun. We
returned for a few days and finally moved on to new things.
It was probably more than a year later, early in the spring when
the same group of boys now much bigger but not much smarter,
decided to take a look at the old swimming area. The boat was
full of water so we hiked downstream through the woods. All the
snakes were still hibernating, poison ivy had not budded out and
the mosquitoes were not stirring yet. It must have been in the
low 40-degree range, but we were all dressed warmly. We arrived
at the old swing site� it was much as we had left it months
before. It was much too cold for swimming but for old time sakes
I decided on impulse, to take a Tarzan swing out over the creek
and then return to shore. I made it out over the center of the
creek and the whole vine tangle turned loose from the tree. I
wound up in the creek with dead grape vines all round me.
Needles to say, it was a rude awakening. I got out of the creek
ok but I was completely soaked, shivering cold and miles away
from home. I've worked in both Alaska and Greenland, but have
never been colder than I was that day.
One of the kids along on the hike had taken up smoking on the
sly, so he had a supply of matches. We built a big bond fire on
the creek bank and I was able to dry out my clothing while
staying reasonably warm. I learned a valuable lesson in survival
that day and to never respond to a Tarzan urge. I also learned
that at least the smoking habit is not all bad.