So. Just a few little vignettes from my childhood to show I ain't forgot about you kids:
I was a very paranoid, very weird child. I thought that there were spies from Sears in JC Penny & McDonalds spies in Burger King & vice versa. There probably really were, but I thought that these spies were watching so that if you were caught in the competitor's store, you wouldn't be allowed in theirs. SO.
We were at JC Penny's, also known in the house as Jock Pennay (Pronounce in ler cornay Fronsh oxsent, lol). I caught a fellow's eye, whereupon he turned back to inspecting the latest clothes from Polly & Esther, the Synthetic Twins' 70's couture line.
I didn't want to get banned from Sears, as I loved the multilevel store, so I hid. Not only from the possible spy, but from my mother as well. Whereupon she promptly went beserk, running around the store. Well. This was going to blow my cover so when she came storming past the display I'd made my covert out of, I grabbed her pantleg. I got hauled out and questioned in a manner that would have made the Spanish Inquisition reach for their weapons-grade rosaries. The whole spy theory came out & my mother's discombobulation was so complete I didn't even get a beating, so that worked out pretty sweet.
I had a sixth birthday, like you do. And we went for a ride from pokey little Canterbury into the big city of Concord, NH. This was back when you let your kids ride in the uncovered back of a pickup truck at 55 mph or more on the highway while they smoked a stogie and swilled bathtub gin. Freer times and all, ya know. Anyway, we rolled up to the bike store & clueless little me, ON MY BIRTHDAY, wondered what we were doing there.
We were there to pick me up a deeply righteous, royal blue metal-flake girl's bike. With serious ape-hanger handlebars. And a white banana seat with enough glitter in the plastic to make any drag queen gnash her lipstick-stained teeth in a froth of envy. It was, yea verily, a sweet ride.
We got it home and my father & maternal grandfather took a few minutes to put on the training wheels while I DANCED in a frenzy of anticipation. That paean display of anticipation apparently took all my balancing skills for that 24 hr period, because I then proceeded to take about a dozen serious nosers off that bike onto our dirt driveway, where I aimed for only the pointiest of rocks to lacerate my delicate skin with *eyeroll*
“Gil?” My grandfather mused out loud. “D'ya think maybe we could try this without the training wheels?”
“Couldn't hurt.” my father shrugged. Not much more than it already DOES, I added mentally. So ten minutes later they passed my rig back to me and, of course:
VROOM. Lance Armstrong is a stunned 3 year old on a Big Wheel with a missing pedal compared to me after that. I bailed (Mainer for “went really fast”) up & down our driveway, catching air from bumps & doing bootlegger's turns on that bike like I'd been born to it. I loved that bike & I'da taken it to bed at night if I thought I coulda got away with it.
Last, but oh, not least:
My immediate family consists of myself, my brother Greg (he's 1.5 yr older than me to the exact day, keep this in mind), Mom & Dad. We used to raise our own beef & pork as well as having a honking huge, way big, yo-mama enormous garden that mom would can veggies & make pickles that people still rave over & enough potatoes to keep 4 hearty eaters through a NH winter. It was BIG, savvy? But as for the meat end of things I don't mean we had vast thundering herds of cattle or anything like that. Just a little ramshackle demi-shack that we kept a pig or a beef cow until they were prime for waxed paper & a rest in the freezer til we were hungry.
We got a bull once. His name was Billy, natch, & he was a big cream-colored fellow. Well, he and my brother Greg bonded, great minds and all that. Greg would tickle his poll & billy would bump the wall in front of him. Never hard, never maliciously, just BUMP. Billy was also quite good at escaping. Not to run free in the wilds of Canterbury, frankly he just seemed bored. He'd frolic & gambol about like a ¾ ton puppy, dodging my parents' efforts. He'd stop & give them that sideways look that dogs will give you when they're playing, like: “Ooo! Come on, you almost had me that time! You're getting so nearrrr...PYSCH!” & then romp off in another direction. He made it 2.5 miles downhill to the Canterbury Center once, & I'm sure my parents were THRILLED when the big box truck came to take Billy for a ride *ahem*.
“Where's Billy going?” Greg wailed as his friend was led into the truck.
My parents thought, & thought like the very wind.
“Camp!” They told him, and Greg, again, not the brightest candle on the abra, accepted this, as we'd gone to camp the previous year & it seemed feasible, and a thoughtfully non-speciesist sort of gesture on my parents' part.
Late fall that year we were eating dinner when Greg said wistfully: “I wonder when Billy's coming back from camp.”
I, at approximately 8 or 9 years old gave Greg what possibly was my first look of disbelieving scathe.
“Greg.” I intoned blankly. “It's October, and we're eating HAMBURGERS.”
“Isn't hamburger chopped ham?” he asked, eyes darting to his half finished burger.
(Insert Matrix-like slow motion shot of my mother turning from washing dishes in the sink in a vain attempt to shut my piehole in time to avoid the inevitable HERE.)
“NO! It's chopped BILLY!” I yelled in glee as my brother dissolved into a neon chartreuse grand mal hissy fit.
I don't even REMEMBER that ass beating.