“What you going to do about it, numb nuts?”
That was the last straw! He not only was challenging me, but he had resorted to using foul language in front of ladies!
A flame rising from the ashes of my childhood fears when listening to my drunken father’s abusive rants at my mother was uncontrollably burning inside me.
When I reached for his throat, the walls of the saloon seemed to split open. One large gap spilled a blinding light over the two of us. I was no longer a child cowering underneath my bed. A reckoning was at hand!
The rest is a blur, even now, as I await my moment on the gallows. My own future decided by men longing for a cold beer and a quick resolution had dismissed who I was in favor of who they needed me to be- a murderer.
The world would soon forget, possibly even forgive, me. I had rid this place of a brutal bully who had terrorized every single citizen causing a weight of hopelessness and despair.
As the hangman pulled the lever, I felt my mother’s tender touch sweep along my cheek beckoning me to come home.
Children never recognize that their lives have blessings. There are experiences that we have that seem ordinary until we’re grown and reflect upon them.
As a child, I had the tremendous opportunity to hang around on my grandparent’s farm.
Not until later on, I realized, “No, Susan. Most have no idea about your experiences.”
One especially cool experience was observing old-fashioned milking time.
The cattle would wait beyond the barn door as they knew it was milking time. The doors were flung open, and they’d file in finding their own assigned spot among many. There was an open stanchion that they would stick their head through finding a measured amount of grain waiting. One of the chores was for someone to walk along beyond and snap each stanchion shut. This kept each cow still until the milking machine could be placed on her.
It was a while before I was tall enough and responsible enough to be the stanchion closer but when that happened, it was a rite of passage and confidence booster for this kid. Walking among 1200-pound beasts is alone a big deal so snapping that stanchion shut and patting each on the head like I owned the place was a super big deal.
None of the kids that I went to elementary school with had any idea about those extraordinary life experiences and watching them squeal at spiders or run from puppies soon made me appreciate my life.
My escapades with those cows were many. Some were smarter than others and tried to intimidate me. I learned a lot about asserting myself, hiding fear, and, of course, connecting with animals.
Someday, I’ll tell you about Suzette. She became my nemesis and her daughter Bambi carried on her legacy! But that’s another story…
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Freshly mown hay’s
Sweet aroma wafts
Surrounding a sweaty beast
Interrupted by leather
Stomping the air
Saddling a moment
Time standing still
Nothing teleports me back to my happy childhood more immediately than the combined aromas of horse, leather, and hay.
Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day I’ll begin this review with a quote from the book’s introduction: “Simply put, this book is about uncovering, unblocking, and letting loose FEELING. And then activating ways to SHARE THAT FEELING.” Simply put, this book is wonderful. It’s not a “how to” book […]Book Review: Embrace Your Weird — Dave Williams
I happened upon a vendor, at the flea market, this weekend. She was selling old beaten, yet still useful, metal trucks. My heart was happy at the memories stirred by these relics. Days spent riding them over the grass hills of my backyard with my brother. Tumbling and laughing …oblivious of their sharp edges and lead paint…we used them in the unintended ways kids do with toys.
Out of nowhere, I remembered Halloween and the fun we had roaming our neighborhood until 10:00 pm! I reminisced for a moment with the vendor. We shared a happy talk of pillowcases filled with candy and the knowing we were safe because we knew our neighbors.
“Now, Halloween is limited to an hour and a half .” I sighed. “Oh well, the kids won’t miss what they never had, I guess.” I walked away with a heavy heart.
The next vendor had a metal Popgun for sale. He wanted $20.00 for memory’s sake and I held the toy, not daring to buy, but allowing myself the memories of me, as Annie Oakley once again. Jamming the barrel with dirt that would go off, with a pop and a puff, was not the intended use, of course. Such happy times…
I’d just had a birthday so reminiscing was near, anyway. The rest of the morning held flashbacks to the happiest times riding in the back of pick-up trucks and on top of hay wagons, with the breeze and treetops at my cheek.
Building campfires on an old dirt road and learning to swim without life vests in the ponds and creeks, came back. Using a wood-burning set without incident and at an “inappropriate” age and the “Thing Maker” with molten goop producing plastic bugs. Riding an, at least 1000 lb horse, bareback at the age of 6 and wandering about the cows, who weighed the same, without fear nor injury because I had been taught about caution. Oh yes, and building bows with arrows of sharpened sticks with the Barlow pocketknife grandpa bought for me. Building jumps for my spider bike and riding with no hands…feet upon the handles…producing some scrapes and bruises, but what a ride! Climbing to the tops of trees and silos and getting scared but holding tight and cheering “like a gold medalist” when I, once again, found the ground.
These things are dangerous and won’t happen any more…why? Because no modern child would attempt them. They haven’t any way to test themselves…to learn caution as they grow by “uping” the ante of self-reliance. All they know is “You mustn’t try. You mustn’t risk. Your judgement is flawed.Don’t get hurt.”
Kids are taught to fear, now. A fine beginning to taming them…self-reliance is dangerous, you know.
Wild colts can turn into sheep.
Kids won’t miss, what they never had…
“Life is a mystery. ”
I prefer to think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. The gathering of information and ideas for us to fit together, all the while, hoping to “get the picture”.
If you’ve ever made a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, it seems an overwhelming task, at first.
Childhood teaches us to recognize the colors and shapes.
Adolescence is a time when we can start to recognize that flat edges go on the outside… a framing. But still, so very chaotic when we realize how many pieces are left to organize.
Adulthood is the time the sky pieces are bundled and, using the colors and shapes from childhood, we start to build.
As we move along, we make new bundles. Like pieces are organized, by color, giving us a plan and a vision of becoming whole. Then we start to examine the shapes because the shapes, are the true means that, enable us to build.
Colors are the events, both good and unfortunate, that we carry. Shapes are the way we react to and use the events. Learning to live takes practice and how we deal with events,( our scruples, our curiosity and our ability to forgive) give the shapes clarity and makes them interlocking.
Finally, we find that there are few pieces left. The organizing is done and there is an ease with which we build. A life, lived well, is now a beautiful picture. Even if a few pieces have become misshapen or lost, it is a wonder to behold.
Remember to help children to recognize and define. They will need that.
Forgive adolescent disorder and marvel at their framework, instead.
Enjoy the busy, colorful adulthood that you have worked for.
Take time to reminisce with the elderly, there’s much to be learned from people who see the whole picture.
Memories from my childhood are very precious to me. I’m sure that there were occasions when I proclaimed,”I’m bored!” like any other kid, but the ways that I used to entertain myself, are sadly, less popular today. Some have been lost to the allure of technology for entertainment. Technology in the form of games and computers is an awesome way to learn! Many “over 50s” shake their heads with condemnation of these modern toys. Watch them closely though, they are the same folks who have saucer-sized eyes on Christmas morning, with their grandkids, and whisper to themselves, ” I would have given my right arm to have had one of those as a kid!” Childhood, after all, is a magical time not a place.
In my day, the amount of fun a kid had was directly proportional to how dirty they got. Digging holes, wading in puddles, and pounding rocks to powder were a few “biggies” with me. Yes, I really DID make mud pies and cakes. Adding pebbles for cherries and sticks for candles made them quite appealing. No wonder, having such a soil based culinary background, I continue to be baffled by the Easy Bake Oven‘s popularity. First problem with EBO is that it requires adult supervision. A universal kid Truth…Fun does not fit in easily when there’s a direct adult presence. Why? Messes are seriously culled by adults, and as I’ve stated, messes are required for fun. Secondly, EBO takes time and waiting. Waiting is the second most deadly element to kid fun, as you know. The last and most important drawback, Easy Bake Ovens are used only indoors. Yikes! Kids need to be outdoors. Fun, the best kind, happens outdoors!
Still, the commercials and sales roll in for Easy Bake Ovens. Heck, now I realize why I see them at every tag sale. Their boxes are usually pristine with only one single cake mix missing. 😉