Hangman Creek was only a little way from Grandma’s front door, (at 47.6418 -117.4446) and I toddled over there without any trouble. The creek wasn’t particularly wide or deep, but it was flowing briskly on this sunny spring day as I knelt down beside it. My Mommy and Daddy were playing cards with Grandma and Uncle Babe just inside the door, so they hadn’t paid much attention to me when I went out into the front yard.

The creek was much more fun than sitting in the grass; it was prettier and besides it was moving, and there were all sorts of interesting things like rocks and slimy stuff down in the water, and occasionally little unknowns went floating by. So I waded out, just a little way, not even up to my knees, to get a closer look at the stuff. I was enjoying the tickling thrill of the cool water flowing past my legs when I spied a largish rock just under the water. It attracted my attention because it was brightly colored and more variegated than the others. I stooped over to pick it up but almost lost my balance, because it was stuck to the bottom. It did come loose with a firmer tug, and I pulled it up for a better look. What an interesting rock! Wow, look what I found. I’ll go show it to Mommy.

Maybe there are some better ones, and they will please her even more. So I waded out a little deeper to find a better one. I felt around for a grip on the nicest-looking one when suddenly there was a horrible pain in my finger. I instantly jumped up and fell back with a splash. Now I was floating down the creek, but the worst of it was the pain in my finger; the water was only cold. I struggled to stand up but couldn’t find the bottom. It seemed like I floated down the creek forever, but it wasn’t very long until I hit something and was able to get over to the shore. But the real problem was the pain in my finger, and it was getting worse.

Once out of the water, I ran as fast as I could back toward Grandma’s house, all dripping wet and screaming for help. All the adults were suddenly flying out the front door apparently thinking I was drowned, which I obviously wasn’t. It was the pain that was forcing my screams.

I held out my injured hand toward my Mommy, and there dangling from it and hanging on like it wanted to become permanently attached to me was a crawdad. I had never seen one before, but it was hideous, like some tiny monster with giant pincers attached out front and all sorts of other weirdness. Everything about it was alien, and there it was attached to my finger, filling me with pain. My Mommy pulled the pincers apart and instantly the pain was gone. Soon everyone was happy and chuckling about the cute little crawdad, which was now squirming uncomfortably in my Daddy’s outstretched hand. We all walked over to the creek and he tossed it back in. That was his home; that is where he lives so we should put him back where he belongs, so he can be happy.

So what did I learn from this painful experience, as a two-year old.

Mommy can always make things better.