Rivers, Ropes, and Roulette

By John Gyorki

I’ve always enjoyed experiencing large bodies of water, rivers, lakes, and streams. It always brought a sense of peaceful tranquility in my life. There seems to be a magical magnetic pull to enjoy its calming effect on your soul. I believe this is true for most people, but when you’re a young child it becomes more of an obsession, you feel a need to participate in its wetness. When you add a rope and tree to the mix, you have a full-blown adventure.

Here is my story:


Finally, it’s here – summer vacation! I thought to myself, as I burst out through the doors of the school. I heard rumor and squabbling amongst my friends of a brand-new rope hanging from the big oak tree, down at the Ecorse River. We chatted about it all the way home. I was excited, to say the least. Impressive stuff for an eleven-year-old. I needed to confirm the accuracy of the news I heard.  After dropping off my school belongings at home, I bolted down to the river across the street from where I lived.

Sure enough. There it was. A brand-new swinging rope, hanging from a thick extended branch of a tree we called Big Oak, right over the narrow river bed.  No one ever figured out who the anonymous donor was, but it didn’t matter, we had a rope to swing on. I could see the bright new line glistening in the sunlight as I walked towards the crowd of older kids. They were already swooshing back and forth along the steep sided river bed. The closer I moved into the crowd, the more I could smell the freshly oiled rope. Ahhh, summer at last.

Everyone is laughing, screaming, and carrying on. I was eager to take a turn, but the older kids hogged up all the swing time. I waited patiently to no avail. The longer I waited, the more kids who were older than me came along. That meant extended waiting times.

A couple of friends, who were my age showed up. After a while, we spoke up out of frustration for a chance to swing. Of course, we were met with laughter and shooed away. We all left disgruntled but agreed to come back later when the older ones were gone. We kept going back checking to see if any of them departed from the area, no luck. Finally, we gave up for the night. We conversed and agreed on a meeting time of early Saturday morning before all the teen agers show up at the swing site.


As luck would have it,  all the teens were violating our unwritten code of conduct – the rules of sharing the fun. Again, we met with ridicule and laughter. My little friends and I engaged in a heated debate with our senior counterparts. Since I spoke Hungarian, I verbally barraged them with every cuss word I knew using my parent’s native language. I shouted such disgusting profanities that I should have had my mouth washed out with soap. The beauty of using this form of verbal assault is no one knows what you’re saying. My foe only had an expression of confusion, and I released my tension about how I felt, but most importantly, I wouldn’t get my butt whooped.

We all noticed the weather changing drastically, with it black clouds came rolling in followed by booming thunder. This put a huge damper on our fun. Frightened by lighting, everyone parted ways to the safety and comfort of their homes. Eventually, a hard rain immersed our neighborhood. The torrential rains continued well into the night.


My mom shouted for me to get ready for church. She also instructed me to wear the new canary blue leisure suit my father had bought me on clearance from Sears and Roebuck. I cringed when I heard her request. This would be my third time wearing the suit. I disliked this suit with every fiber of my being! I did not care for the color, how the material felt, or the design of it. To top it off, I had a pair of dorky looking platform shoes to go with it. Reluctantly, I dressed in my doofus looking garb.

Grabbing a comb in the bathroom, I doused my hair with water to slick it back; this was not my typical daily hairstyle. When I finished wetting and combing my hair, I looked at my reflection and proceeded to make distorted looking facial gestures at myself, all the while exaggerating a protruded upper row of teeth. I stared in the mirror saying.” Look at the moron in the BLUE SUIT! DOOOOOOFUSSSS! STUPID DOOOOOFUSSSSS!”

Upon finishing my bathroom farce. I went to the large picture window in our living room. Looking in the direction of Big Oak and to my astonishment, no one was at the ROPE! Immediately I ran out the back door. It was a gorgeous sunny day to boot!


Spending the next two minutes contemplating whether I should meander over to the swing was tormenting my self-indulged need for adventure. I quickly turned and ran into the house to ask my dad how much time we had before we left for church? “Fifteen minutes,” he said, “And don’t even think about going across the street!” I wandered back outside to start my pity party on the front lawn gazing over at Big Oak.  Life is not fair, I thought to myself.

After careful self-deliberation of pros and cons of disobeying my father. I concluded a little bit of leather against my hide would be worth the exhilaration of experiencing the freedom of swinging all alone. Upon my decision, I ran with my platform shoes clumsily across the street, best I could without falling. When I arrived at the river bank, I met my dream goal with utter awe. The river had filled to the highest level I’ve ever witnessed from the rain the day before. 

The poor lonely hand line dangled helplessly from the tree branch in the middle of the river – too far for my reach. The rope was partially under water treading the current. The ground still saturated from rain made me slip when I stepped. I found a long tree branch to hook the rope and draw it in towards me. Once I grasped the rope, an intense wave of elation came over me.

In my thoughts, I figured this would be my only opportunity to swing. There I was, in my Sunday bests to make a historical moment come true. I wanted to relish the time I had; so, backing up, step by step, with clumped mud stuck to my shoes, on the slope holding my intertwined hemp friend, I started my ascent backward for proper swing distance, pausing only for a moment. I lifted my legs and sailed over the Ecorse River. Low and behold, I miscalculated my hand placement on the rope. I pulled my legs up as high as humanly possible to stay dry, only to skim my canary blue covered knees over the water top!

Not only did I do a little bit of knee-skimming the first pass, but on the return trip, too. To my credit, this miscalculated knee-skimming mistake caused braking action slowing me down. Mentally, I freaked out thinking I would end up stranded in the middle of the river; I went into Mayday panic mode. On my second return trip, I decided to abort rope! I leaped off the hemp bus best I could, only to be greeted by a very steep saturated and slick river bank. My body hugged the earthly watered dirt with complete embracement. Once I hit the ground, momentary stillness occurred, then doom and gloom crept in.  The embankment of the river wall was so slippery that I started my descent into the murky dark silt infested water which was inches from the bottom of my feet and shoes.


My fingertips dug into the moist soil. My feet were of no help to assist because of the glossy smooth, slipperier-than-dog-snot, bottoms of my platform shoes could not take hold of anything firm. Slowly sliding down the muddy slope, I finally plunged into the depths of the over filled river, chest high. The current of the muddied water could not sweep me away because I had a death grip on the small teeny tiny tree roots exposed from the ground.

With bold determination, I cat clawed my way out of the rivers clutch. Once I planted my feet on solid ground, I assessed the damage to my brand new blue leisure suit, except, it was not blue anymore. Well, maybe just the tops of my shoulders. The suit now carried a water-drenched-muddy-silt, black-dirty look, scantly touched with a hue of blue. However, I felt relieved and thankful for rescuing myself, or did I? God only knows.


Coming to terms with accepting my self-assured fate, – receiving a leather lit backside – I started my squish, squish, squish, sloppy soaked walk back across the vacant field towards home to absorb my self-induced punishment. In the distance, I saw my father looking at me with his eyes opened like two silver dollar coins! His stare penetrated my soul. I approached with utmost caution into his presence. He did not say a word until I froze in place about ten feet in front of him. “What the hell is the matter with you?” He said. Not quite the words you want to hear before visiting the Lord’s house I thought. I already figured on standing up in church today, especially after Pop’s chaps my kiester.

Then in Hungarian, he said,”Drága Jézus, a kisfiam nem hallgat rám” (Dear Jesus, my little boy won’t listen to me).

He then tells me to walk towards the back door of the house to stand and wait. When I started my walk of shame, I placed the backs of my hand on my poor little muddied rear end for protection, as I passed him. When I reached my designated area, I turned and faced dad. I looked up at him with the saddest tearful eyes – just filthy, sloppy, and soaking wet. He stood there speechless looking down at me from top to bottom. Suddenly, he lets out this uncontrollable laugh! He laughed at me so hard I thought he would choke to death. My mom heard the laughter from inside the house and joined in with dad. My misadventure turned into giving my parents a great moment to share with their mischievous little boy. It also gave me the satisfaction of witnessing a rare glimpse of affection they had towards each other. I know both my parents were happy I was home safe. It could have ended up a bad day, but it did not turn out that way.

As far as the canary blue leisure suit? Well, the silt was so permeated in the material, mom was unsuccessful at getting it clean and new again.

The suit ended up in the trash can. That was ok with me!

Contributing Writer


John C. Gyorki

John is currently an Electrical Skilled Tradesman for the University of Michigan. He has over 32 years experience in his field. He resides in Southern Michigan with his wife, Maryann. He spent four years in the Marine Corp as a 7011 (Aircraft Launch & Recovery Tech). After his tour, he completed a four-year Inside Wireman Electrical Apprenticeship with I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

At a very young age, John developed a love for reading and hoarding books and has continued to do so. It wasn’t uncommon to see him writing notes about something. John believes inspiration comes from an intentional reading of the word and following the Lord. He feels it encourages better living and thinking.

When John is not working, writing, and reading, he is trying his best at being a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend, and uncle. On occasion, you’ll see him making sausage and jerky or fermenting cabbage and pickles. He is always put in charge of making Hungarian Goulash over an open pit fire. No one else is allowed!

“My goal is to foster traditional family community and common sense thinking.”

“I enjoy reading books about personal life experiences. When people are at their lowest, broken point, and then making a victorious comeback.”

John C. Gyorki

John is new to the writing and blogging world

You can join him at ThinkerMe.com or email at john@ThinkerMe.com

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  1. Hello John,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece. It really made me smile throughout. Your writing has improved a lot since the last story I read from you.

    And I absolutely love the ending and can relate to the childhood joy of witnessing your parents’ affection and joy. There’s something comforting about this and I know for me I felt reassured and secure whenever I saw or overheard such moments.

    • Thank you for the compliment Ladycee. My apologies for the late response. I try hard to write each story better, but sometimes It falls short. Practice is the key. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  2. John, I have waited to comment until I had a minute to respond wholeheartedly. You are getting better! I think all of us here on Two Drops are! There is something about reading others’ writing, and seeing comments that inspires and causes us to grow in our craft. This is a wonderful story and you showed me much more than you told me. I too, have boys and have been to the ER with numerous mishaps over the years. There is something infuriating about those mischievous boys, but also endearing. Glad this event ended up in laughter. As a parent sometimes you have to laugh or you will cry. And sometimes it is difficult to stay mad for long when your child is standing wet and covered in mud with a twinkle in the eye. Those twinkles have saved a life or two at our house! I bet you have them!! Great post!

    • Thank you Michelle, I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes! When I read others post it does inspire and give me ideas to write about. It feels like word food to keep me going. Comments do feel like a jolt of adrenaline. Right now I’m humming the tune “We are family” 🙂

  3. Thank you Wendy, this is a favorite story of my three children.They get a laugh at how crazy their ole dad was and still is. I still recall vividly the details of that day. I never anticipated any fear doing what I did, I just did it. As always, I appreciate your comments and happy to make you laugh.

  4. John, you had me laughing throughout your story, and you made me smile with relief at the happy ending. You can’t beat laughing parents and a rescue from a despised pantsuit.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  5. Thank you Marilyn, yes I was a little rascal! I had my fair share of whoppings! 🙂

    The things I got myself into surprise me. Over the years, I have become a very cautious individual, but strange circumstances still seem to find me.

  6. Hi John,
    A wonderful snapshot of a most memorable moment in time!
    I remember when leisure suits were fashionable and I thanked God I wouldn’t ever have to wear one! You inadvertently found a creative way to get rid of yours!
    Having raised two sons, your snapshot jogged a few of my own memories; my sons were close in age and both enjoyed making movies, so most of the mishaps happened when filming for the next blockbuster!
    Let’s see, hmmm…. There was the time one of my youngest almost set our house on fire after lighting one inches from the side of the house (as well as the gas meter!); the time my oldest son was doubling as his own stunt man and purposefully threw himself out of the car while my youngest was speeding down our neighbor street; the time my oldest had to be taken to the emergency room for a detached retina after some sort of football stunt, which to this day I still am not clear on exactly what or how this could possibly have occurred!
    Of course, most of these (and these are just a small sampling!) took place when my husband was working.
    Times like these that made me wish I could speak a second language so I could express with (non) appropriate words my combination of anger, frustration and relief!
    Although I knew no foreign language at the time, what I did have in my word arsenal were the same words that most mothers possessed (and still do): JUST WAIT until your Father gets home!”
    Thanks for a humorous peak into the world as seen from a child’s perspective! So glad it turned out so well for all concerned 🙂

    • My goodness Terry! You had your hands full. May I ask? Are their any filmmakers in the family today?

      I went through a pyromania stage myself. Maybe Ill share that story one day. (Gently laughing).

      The second language still comes in handy, especially when driving!

      One thing I would like to point out to you. I love how you respond to peoples post’s. You are so kind when commenting here as most everyone does, but you really pour your heart into them. I really appreciate it.

      Marilyn Davis delivers the same sincerity. Between the two of you, I will learn how to articulate a better engaging comment style. This is what I love about this community, all about learning and helping. Sowing and reaping lives on the pages of this site. Thank you Terry, John

      • Ha! I did John! No filmmakers, but my oldest went on to be a graphic designer and my youngest a professional photographer.
        Oh my, your own pyromania stage! Yes, please so share!! I am getting a feel for what your mother must have endured 🙂
        What a generous thing for you to say! Thank you! You are so right, Marilyn delivers very sincere and insightful comments!
        Your engaging and encouraging comments are fine as they are! They are authentic John – no better way to be:)
        Yes, I too am really enjoying a part of this awesome community, who are not in competition with one another, but seek to help in any way they can.
        I love your comment there we are “sowing and reaping into lives on the pages of this site.” You nailed it – this community is about far more than words (as important as they are).
        Look forward to your next post 🙂

        • Hi Terry, I cant take credit for “Sowing and Reaping” Scott promotes this core value often in his post’s. It’s become contagious here, so I just share the value of it.

  7. Hi, John. Wonderful tale of not minding, not knowing the consequences, and seeing life through a child’s eyes. I love how you’re capturing your memories and sharing them with us. Please keep it up.

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