Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Merriwether: Beginnings

I was cold, but even when the hail started I wasn't too concerned. I had my favorite "Minnesota Twins" jacket on and I pulled my knit cap down over my face for protection. I was one mile out of town and had another mile to go to get to grampa's farm. A week earlier my folks had brought my cat, "Snuggy", out to the farm because it had developed an issue with marking his territory. I really, really missed Snuggy and during class that day I decided I was going to go see him. So, when my kindergarten teacher let us out I headed north out of town instead of to home.

Of course, I didn't tell anyone of my plan.

I really missed my cat. The cold wind and dark clouds of that early Minnesota spring day didn't deter me in the least. I knew where grampa's farm was. I knew it was "two miles away" and in a car we got there right away. Walking there didn't seem like a problem. I really, really missed my cat.

The hail was small but it was starting to hurt and the rain had soaked me. I could see a large hubcap in the ditch and thought I could hold it over me for protection (I also thought it'd make a cool toy flying saucer!). When I picked it up several small field mice scattered from underneath it. That was really cool! I think I might have felt bad for the mice though because I put the hubcap back down. I don't remember exactly why I did that.

Back then my dad drove a little, blue 4-door Dodge Dart. When I saw the car pull up I was a little relieved and a little bummed. I was proud that I made it as far as I did but I was soaked and freezing. Dad's warm car was going to feel nice and I'd get to see Snuggy that much sooner. I ran up to the car and...

It wasn't my dad. It was some stranger that had a car like my dad's.

He asked me what I was doing and I stood in the rain and hail and told him about Snuggy and how I was walking to my grampa's farm to see him and there were field mice under the hubcap and...

He had me get in the car. He said he knew my father. He drove me to grampa's farm.

Grampa and several of my uncles were there. They had me stand in the kitchen so the water dripping off me wouldn't hurt anything. I stood there wet for a long time. They might have given me some hot chocolate but that part of the memories are fuzzy.

They sharpen up again with the memory of dad's little blue car racing up into the barnyard. It was still raining when dad got out of the car in his own storm of anger and relief. It had been hours since kindergarten had let out and mom/dad had been worried sick. He marched me to the car and then memories get fuzy again. He may have lectured me or maybe we drove home in silence. I do remember rain running down the car's windshield and I remember being sad because I never did get to see Snuggy*.

When we got home mom and dad put me in their bed and covered me in blankets. Dad returned to work and I think mom brought me something warm to drink. I was still in their bed when dad got home that evening and he lectured me more about how worried they had been and that I should never do anything like that again. The words "catch pneumonia and die", "worried sick" and "mom was in tears" were used.

That all happened thirty-three years ago. Last week I got an e-mail from my dad. In it he asked that I stop messing around alligators because I might get eaten. My poor parents have had thirty-three years of me wandering off into the woods, blowing stuff up, encountering dangerous animals, getting trapped in New Orleans with a hurricane heading towards it, etc...

And that's just the stuff they know about. =:-0

Dad & mom, I'm sorry. I know I've put you through a lot. If it's any concillation, my stomach clenches up whenever I see Miniwether running down the driveway in her flipflops. She's fast but kind of clumsy and has had some pretty spectacular wipeouts. She may well be your revenge for all I put you through. Or maybe that's just a normal reaction to a normal kid.

Adventure! Excitement! Child endangerment!

*Epilogue: The next day dad drove me back to grampa's farm. Just before we got there we spied a shape in the road. I got out of the car and kicked it into the ditch. Then we turned around and went home.

No comments: