Puddle Stomper Extraordinaire

Along the Way. . .

Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”

November 5, 2021

By Steven Maisenbacher

When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles. ~ Pooh Bear

Walks On The Grass

One time along the way in Phoenix, Arizona, the child in me came out to play. It had been hot as only the desert can be in July when lo and behold along came some rain, but it seems that no one told it to stop, so it rained and it rained and it rained, days on end before it finally slowed down to a sprinkle. While the ground was still soaked and everything pretty much flooded it was beautiful temp wise, upper 90’s and just as pretty as it could be. So I decided to go to the yard.

Now I do not know what came over me, but I stomped in every water puddle along the way to the rec yard. See, I have always been a puddle stomper and love the “SPLOOOSH” it makes when you stomp down in them. Smile. So I make it across the compound merrily stomping my way to the rec yard, shorts, shoes and t-shirt soaked to the skin! As you go through the gate to enter the rec yard you pass the offices for the recreation staff, then next to that the barber shop and then a little drainage concourse that slopes down on several sides and meet in a big drainage grate.

It had been raining so very hard for several days that water had filled the pipes from the drainage area and created a pool 3 – 4 feet deep and about 10 feet across, a veritable swimming pool!  Seeing this I just could not control myself.  I took off running from the patio, across the sidewalk, past the barbershop, threw myself through the air and belly flopped right into the pool of water! The feeling was amazing!

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

But then the rec cops came out. They ordered me out of the “pool” and made me get away from the area, which was a good idea in hindsight because this was the desert and that was a scorpion that just floated past my head. So out I come and head for the track. Man, even more fun! I stomped my way around the entire 1/3 mile track thru every puddle, rivulet and wet spot I could find. When I finally got back around to the office side of the track the rec cop told me I had to leave and go back to the unit. I couldn’t believe it! I had been tossed off the rec yard for puddle stomping, a purely childish but innocent endeavor.  So I re-stomp the puddles all the way back across the compound to the cell block, thinking it was really amazing that I didn’t actually get in any trouble other than being thrown off the recreation yard and sent back to the block.

So I get back to the block, wet, soaked and saturated and the air conditioning hits me. I’m one frozen person so I come out of the soggy clothes and get into a nice warm shower. By then it’s getting near 4 pm count time, so I just go hang in the cell listening to the smooth jazz station out of Phoenix on the radio and reading or whatever. We get counted and immediately after count, when they are opening the cell doors, an announcement comes out of great P.A. speakers in the sky:

“ATTENTION COMPOUND AND HOUSING QUARTERS, THE COMPOUND IS OPEN FOR A 10-MINUTE RECREATION MOVE TO THE RECREATION YARD! REPEAT, THE COMPOUND IS OPEN FOR A 10 MINUTE MOVE TO THE RECREATIOON YARD. THE YARD IS OPEN…TO EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU, MR. MAISENBACHER, YOU CAN’T SEEM TO CONTROL YOURSELF AROUND PUDDLES.”

This was not the first time my childish behavior got me in a bit of a stew, and it sure wasn’t the last time.  But a kid has to have fun sometimes.

© Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher, 2021

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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