Saturday morning after Christmas, Mike and Noah were up and out early, determined to get the zip line going before our friends from South Carolina arrived at noon. Mike ran out of cable and had to make a mid-morning run to the home improvement store, but was still back in time to have everything together just as our company was pulling in the driveway. We greeted our sweet friends-who mind you-have been urban dwellers most of their lives, so I'm sure traveling to our little singlwide on a dirt road in the woods of MS was a big enough adventure for them, without throwing in the excitement of a zip line. After hugs and remarking how much all of our children have grown (they have daughters the same age as Mackenzie and Mae and a son the same age as Noah), we headed arounded back to view the zipline-mind you, this would be the first time I had ventured outside to look at my husband's handiwork-- My eyes, as well as the eyes of my dear friend, grew big as saucers, as we surveyed the extension ladder extended 20 FEET up, leaned against a big pecan tree, with a cable anchored to the tree just above the ladder. Mike had crafted a trolley that attached to the cable (which, I think he told me is supposed to hold 900 lbs), and attached to the trolley was a swing...and at the end of the cable-a distance of a little more than 200 feet, was a tire, attached to the cable...in order to stop the "rider" before the rider smacked into the tree as he/she zoomed down the zipline.
As I marveled at My husband's skill, I also wondered which one of my children would break an arm first. We stared up at Mike, standing 20 feet up in a crook of the tree, holding the swing.
"Who's first?" He called. At first I suggested he go first, but then I realized he was our families main source of income, and we could not have him laid up in a hospital due to falling off a zip line-
so the next choice was Mackenzie, who fears nothing, and quickly scampered up the ladder and onto the swing. Ready to view a thrilling 90 mph ride, we all watched, half in excitement, half in fear....as Mike let go of the swing, we all held our breath....the swing moved VERY slowly down the cable-so slowly, we all wanted to grab the swing at pull it the rest of the way-Mackenzie mosey-ied about halway down the zip line, before the swing hit the ground and dragged her the rest of the way. Each of the other kids took turns, and with each child, the ride went slowly, ending in the dirt about midway through the ride. Mike stood atop the ladder and chuckled..."I think I have a little reconfiguring to do...." His reconfiguring would involve pulling the cable tighter and having a steeper incline, although I expressed my concern with taking the cable higher than 20 feet off the ground. In the meantime, we left it as it was, and had a fun time watching the kids slide not so gracefully down the zipline, always hitting the ground in mid-ride.
And our friends admitted that it wasn't as dangerous as they thought it would be (not yet anyway). The rest of the day was spent enjoying our friends-trying to cram all of the remeniscing into a few hours, since their plans were to leave early the next morning. mae and her friend Ciara pulled out a typewriter and wrote stories together. Mackenzie taught Serena how to bake apple pie-the girls made one to keep and one to send home with them. Noah and Ethan tried out Noah's bb gun (under Mike's supervision of course) and our friend Luis cooked us supper-spanish rice with beans, chicken and a home-made concoction called sofrito-a blend of garlic, peppers, onion, olives and I'm not sure what else. When we all lived in Florida, where we first became friends, some of our best "food" memories involved Deanna and Luis' spanish cooking...so after stuffing ourselves again, we talked late into the night, trying to make up for the 3 years since we last saw each other! Sunday morning, at their request, we took them to Elvis Presley's birthplace, and then said our goodbyes. They headed home, we headed to church...all the kids asking how soon we would see them again. It's great to have those special friends-ones that no matter how long it has been since you have talked or seen each other, you can still pick up right where you left off.
1 month ago