I was raised in a small farming town. There wasn’t much to do. Quite frankly, I do believe I’m right at the end of the generations that spent time outside. I walked the streets sucking the juice from honeysuckle, popping the oil on the roads, digging for crawfish and sometimes I rode horses. I remember once getting in trouble for keeping a bed of straw containing little baby pink mice that I had hidden in our shed.
Since I am six years older than my brother, one would think I would have the better memories. I do believe he does though. I can’t state for a true fact that all my memories are correct, but I can say that I grew up as a coal miner’s daughter and that I wouldn’t trade my parents or my brother for the world.
My grandfather was a tough man, depressed from the war. He broke quarter horses. Today I told my father about a time I was riding with grandpa standing at the barn. He was yelling horse terms at me and expecting me to know what in the hell Gee and Haw meant. I knew, but I really wanted to be doing something else that particular day. I kept telling him my saddle was loose. He told me to stop trying to get out of work. I did end up falling in a half circle formation grasping as tight as I could onto that saddle when I found myself in an awful predicament. Fortunately the horse didn’t trample me, but in a teenage fit of rage I grabbed driveway rock and threw the rocks at my extremely large grandpa. My father looked at me in amazement. He said, ” Well he never told me about that, but why would he if it meant admitting he was wrong?”
I am not one to proclaim to have all the answers. I have no idea where my life is heading, but I do know I feel it’s heading in the right direction. I’m on the right path, if you will.
I’m tired. I woke up at 2:30 this morning to find my father in a kneeling praying position with scotch tape. He was asleep and I stood there for a little bit not sure what to do. I finally got him up and he apparently was building his office. The scotch tape was his measuring tape. We started our coffee and our day at 3:00 a.m. and now I’m tired. Perhaps he will find rest and be more peaceful tonight.
Reflecting back on this morning, I realize that my father is forever thinking. His brain never stops when he’s in an elevated level of mood and it must be just maddening. Maddening to have all of these ideas, yet they just never quite seem to come together. For me, the maddening reality is that my father has a mental disorder. A few moments of clarity and seemingly normal social behavior here and there are a cruel thing really. The sad truth slaps me in the face and I can become present to my father’s reality rather quickly.
The past contains some great memories. I hope to keep making those. I never thought about opening up a Red Wing shoe shop in my garage, but my father thinks it’s a fantastic idea. I mean… Who knows.