Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gully Story

I was chatting with some friends about our old neighborhood the other day. We were laughing about the fun that we had and how we did not spend any time in the house. We were always outside finding something to do.

Jackie brought back memories when she mentioned going to her mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She said that she and her mother walked down to the woods where we used to play. We called them the gullies because there was a huge gully in the sloping woods.

Some of our more capable friends set up a wire cable from a tree at the top of the gulley to a tree at the bottom. They installed a pulley and rope and we would ride the pulley down to the bottom of the gully. Now, these set-ups are more sophisticated and are called zip lines. People wear harnesses and helmets and the lines traverse much more space than ours did. 

But it was fun and it passed the time. I don’t know who owned the land, but we thought that we did.

One day, when I was about twelve, I walked outside and a neighborhood boy, Tim was riding his bicycle past our house going as fast as he could. He shouted out to me “Manessia just fell off the pulley in the gullies and she is hurt. I am headed to her Mom’s!”

I jumped on my bicycle and rode down to the gullies as fast as I could. When I arrived, the ambulance was already there with the victim on the ambulance board. A group of kids was standing and watching.

They were telling me what happened, mainly that the boy Tim had gotten the name wrong; it wasn’t Manessia who had fallen, it was Vanlissa. The reason that she fell was that the rope broke. Suddenly a blue nova sped up and skidded to a noisy stop. The ambulance crew had just shut the door when a hysterical lady ran screaming to the ambulance saying, “Open the doors, open the doors now. That is my baby in there!”

 This was Manessia’s mom Gertie. Manessia was standing in our group calling to her mom as her mom screamed at the ambulance crew. We kids were laughing. Gertie continued her yelling and screaming for them to let her see her daughter while her daughter stood with us yelling, “Mama, Mama, I am right over here! Mama!” 

We were almost rolling on the ground laughing.

The ambulance crew opened the door and Gertie crawled in the ambulance in tears to see her daughter; all the while her daughter yelling at her from where we all stood. Gertie got a confused look on her face and looked at the ambulance crew as if it were their fault and said, “That isn’t my daughter.” 

We were still laughing. Gertie quieted down considerably and slowly crawled out of the ambulance as Manessia walked toward her, saying, “Mama, I am right here and I am fine! Mama, that is Vanlissa!”
Gertie said, “Tim said that it was you that was hurt! What are you doing down here anyway? You are getting in the car and coming home right now!”

Manessia said, “What did I do? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Gertie said, “I don’t care. I almost had a heart attack! You are coming home right now where I know where you are.” We laughed harder. 

The ambulance drove off with Gertie and Manessia right behind.

In the end, Vanessa had a separated shoulder and healed nicely. Our pulley days were over in the gullies…. 

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins


  1. Great picture! I am glad your friend was okay! I can imagine this scene so easily. The mother of your other friend must have been freaking out! I always played outside and the kids in my neighborhood had a blast together. Sometimes one of got hurt and broke a bone- but we healed. Our parents didn't sue eachother and we all learned to be a little bit tougher. I adored the woods as a child and I rode my bike every day. I have such fond memories- even the ones that ended with a trip to the doctor or emergency room.


  2. Thanks, Jess. We rode our bikes too. As a parent, I understand better how the mother's felt..