AMY KIRK: Boys are going to kick up some dirtDirt and boys — they just go together. When our son was a toddler, his idea of hitting pay dirt was getting to play with it.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
Dirt and boys — they just go together. When our son was a toddler, his idea of hitting pay dirt was getting to play with it.
His fascination for fine dry soil started a dirt-kicking phase.
It all began when he followed me underneath the slat-covered porch one day to clean out a bunch of debris that had gathered there.
The soft dirt caught his attention as the setting sun highlighted the dust that our feet stirred up. He was mesmerized and the look on his face of intense interest with the drifting clouds of dust was cute at first but then his fascination became annoying.
After figuring out that kicking dirt made dust clouds, he became obsessed. The four-foot high space underneath the porch was easy for him to run up and down the sloped ground to create a dust storm.
All summer long it was like having Pigpen of the Peanuts gang living with us. He wanted to kick dirt under the porch daily.
Kicking dirt consumed our boy.
He had to go to under the porch every day for hours at a time from the moment he woke up and got his ball cap and bib overalls on to go roust dirt.
He’d run up the slope, stop to watch the dust float away then run back and watch it again. The more time he spent under the porch, the more he perfected his technique to produce bigger dirt clouds around his feet before it drifted away.
He discovered wearing his gray, fake alligator skin cowboy boots accomplished this quite well. They became his dirt kicking boots. Nothing stirred up dust like those gray hand-me-downs.
He’d drag his foot inward like he was pigeon toed as he ran, for maximum dirt fluffing and wore them everywhere in case he found dirt to kick around at other places.
I had to bathe him daily after he did his dirt work. Fine grit would cling to his sweaty little body and he always felt sticky when he came in. His forehead would have a black horizontal line where he wore his cap, black rings around his lips and nose, grime in his ears and in his sweaty, wet hair.
Besides kicking it, he liked to have an audience watch him work. He’d pester whoever was around to come and “watch” him.
He loved his dirt kicking job and was so dedicated he didn’t need much supervising. I would just occasionally peek over the porch to see if dirt was still coming out from underneath it while cooking dinner or working in the house.
Once he discovered this fine dust, he was constantly checking out dirt in other places like the barn, wallows cows used, soft spots in driveways and other people’s dirty shop floors.
One time he stirred up the dust in another rancher’s shop so bad that the old-timer finally said, “STOP KICKIN’ THAT DIRT!”
It wasn’t long after that he grew out of his gray cowboy boots and his dirt kicking phase. I didn’t miss the hassle his phase caused to keep him and his clothes clean in order to go someplace, just the dirt cheap entertainment that it provided.
This column was originally published in June 2009. Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.