Posted in Memories of the Farm, My Vivid Memories

My Vivid Memories: Don’t Get Mad, Get Even.

There’s a layer of explanation I must add to this memory that I think will increase the sense in it.

I was the oldest grandchild born from the oldest child. That meant my mother’s siblings were hardly more than kids themselves when I was born. My interactions with my mother’s brother and sisters resembled that of a ‘baby’ sister more than a niece. My aunts married youthful men their own age too.

I love men! Yeah, I said it. I have no doubt that my uncles’ incessant teasing and practical jokes were most useful in making me the confident person that I am today. (Male role models are almost as essential to girls as they are to boys.) There were several moments when I teetered between the choice of crying and complaining or “taking stuff on the chin”. The route I chose which was not to get mad, but” get even” has made ALL the difference. As an 11-year-old, and on, it was quite a bold decision considering my adversaries were in their early twenties.

This one event, again, takes place at the farm. My mother’s ‘baby’ brother probably had been tormented by her at some point and his devilish pranks toward her children may have been part of a retribution. On the farm there were patches of burdocks. Burdock seedpods are covered in spiky barbs that easily catch on animal fur and clothing as Nature’s way of widely distributing the seeds. Those seed pods were famously directly responsible for the innovation we know as Velcro.

Burdocks with sticky barbs.

At the farm, we would grab a bunch of dried burdocks and make a handy ‘snowball’ of them for whacking each other in the back. They carried a startling weight and made ‘the receiver’ of the ‘shock’ have to strip off their overshirt and carefully pick them off. Pretty funny stuff!
My Mom’s brother realized that burdocks on clothes was annoying but burdocks in long hair was a nightmare and proceeded to hit me with them, every chance he got, in the back of the head. I wore thick long braids that became a tangled (somewhat painful) mess when that happened!
That same uncle had recently tried to fool my brother by pulling up to the electrified fencing (meant to keep the cows contained) close enough to touch the metal truck grill against it. My two and a half years younger brother would have gotten the startling (not deadly) shock when he exited if he had stepped out by grounding the electricity while still holding the metal door handle. If I hadn’t recognized the prank and grabbed him by the collar telling him to jump, not step out, that mean trick would have worked. Incidentally, those shocks from the fences packed quite a punch especially when you didn’t expect them.

Well, this gal had a score to settle. You can ‘mess with me’ but nobody was going to get away with ‘messing’ with my ‘baby’ brother. 😀

My uncle was in his early twenties when 77 Sunset Strip was a popular show. He wore his hair slicked back with Brylcreem probably because he wanted to look like those popular characters.

As luck would have it, Brylcreem came in a tube like toothpaste.

You’re probably already seeing my plan. And also, according to luck, my grandmother’s choice of toothpaste at the time was Colgate.

The color similarities of those two products were about to prove extremely handy.

This uncle had a habit of dragging out of bed before daylight and robotically eating his breakfast then rushing to the barn in a semi-coma. I never have seen since someone eat cereal with their eyes closed.

All I had had to do was exchange his tube of Brylcreem for the toothpaste that he was sure not to examine!

“AARGHH!” is all I heard before the bathroom door swung open. Still foaming at the mouth, he was ‘literally’ spitting mad. LOL
Even though I was laughing hysterically, I still believe he thinks it was all my grandmother’s fault for moving his ‘stuff’ around.

The moral bears repeating: Don’t ever get mad when you can get even.

You haven’t heard the last of my practical joke era…stay tuned.


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

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