Nothing in Saugatuck could be better than my Grandma Bettys swing. The swing brought old and young alike together for hours of fun and enjoyment. No one could resist the pull of the swing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a super scardy cat and value my safety. I hate feeling scared. Serious. The swing should have been my natural enemy then. Instead it was my favorite part of the cottage. Mine, and many others too.
The swing. Now I am sure most of you are thinking about a normal swing that you would see in any old random park. But this is not the case. This is soooooo much better than that.
Behind my grandmas cottage is a large valley/trench. I don’t know why or how but in that trench no trees have grown. Because of this, somewhere along the line, it was decided to put up a swing. One of the trees on the outside of the trench has a huge thick branch that has grown right over the top. The perfect tree to hang a strong rope with a swing at the end.
The “swing” is a circular wooden board with a hole in the center for the rope to go through. A huge knot right under the board keeps it in place. Who knew a rope, a board, and a branch could bring such joy to such a large extended family.
The scary part came when dealing with the stairs and the height of the jump to make it onto the swing. One of the sides of the trench was lined with concrete steps. The higher up the trench you went on the steps, the harder (and much scarier) it was to get onto the swing. Basically, to make it onto the swing, you needed to reach your hands high onto the rope, jump as high as you could (pulling yourself up with the help of the rope in the process), and pray that your butt landed on the board. I would say that about 99% of the time you made it (the other 1% ended in lots of scrapes and bruises).
If you did make it, it was the best feeling in the world. The rush of the scenery around you, the wind moving through your hair, and the yell of excitement coming from your throat. It felt like you were flying. Depending on the season, you could fall off mid-swing into the leaves or snow below. If the ground was hard, you would want to wait until the swing came to a stop on its own, or drag your feet to make yourself slow down faster. How many times I must have practiced my decent… bumps, bruises, and all.
Grandma Betty never made it onto the swing. At least not as far back as I can remember. But, like all other things, she was always around, getting enjoyment out of watching others happiness. She would lean over the back porch railing and laugh and smile with us until her arthritis flared up and her back started to hurt.
As I got older, I didn’t go on the swing as much. I didn’t spend as much time in Saugatuck to be honest. But the swing wasn’t silent. Grandma Betty continued to invite over her friends grandchildren and others around the neighborhood.
To this day, even though Grandma Betty is gone, people still come over to use the swing. No one calls, and no one asks, they just show up to enjoy a piece of the cottage and I am happy that they do. I know Grandma Betty is still watching, no matter where she is looking down from.