My little brother’s cat had four toes on one paw, six on the other. We called him Toes. It was raining cats and dogs when my oldest brother jumped into his Jeep, pulled away, ran over Toes’ head, kept on going. My little brother looked out the window and saw a bloody Toes running in circles. He let out a scream. My older brother and I ran to investigate. Toes head was shaped like a triangle. There was lots of blood. An eye was popping out. Toes never ran but was now running full speed in circles. Dave commanded, “Get the gun.” This meant I had to go into my parents’ closet and grab the .22 rifle we were forbidden to touch. I also had to go back three times to grab bullets as my brother kept missing. The third shot hit right in the brain. The poor pussycat started jumping two feet in the air and wouldn’t stop. “Get the shovel,” my brother yelled. A strong whack in the head finally did the trick. My little brother was traumatized for hours. We all were.
Many years ago, they built a major highway just a half of a mile from my neighborhood. My brother, Dave, our neighbor Chip, and I decided to check it out one weekend, after about a week of rain.
We put our boots on. Mine were missing, so I grabbed my mother’s. Chip took the lead. He was tall and lean, with long legs. Dave was next and I was last. I was as wide as I was tall. Following them through the mud was fun, until I began to sink into the puddle they had just trudged through.
“Dave! Help–I’m sinking! It’s quicksand mud!”
They came back and carefully grabbed my hands without stepping too close, but I was going in deeper. Then the inevitable happened: because of the fear and straining, I pooped my pants.
The smell was suffocating. Chip and Dave must have caught a whiff, because they let my hands go, turned and started walking.
Hadn’t they watched old Tarzan movies were somebody dies in the quicksand?!?
I realized this was a life or death situation. With all my effort, I jumped, I jumped right out of my mother’s boots. I landed on my side, rolled to my back and did a backstroke with a hard kick, moving maybe three feet to safety. That was the longest walk home ever: uphill in only socks and soiled pants. I made it through, even though I did suffer some third degree chafing. Thank God for petroleum jelly.
I was tough. I didn’t cry until after I told Mom I lost her boots.
There is a stoop shouldered man painting my pump house. He looks old, although he is the same age as me. He could really play basketball back in high school, and, by all accounts a handsome young man, but with an attitude problem. We called him Showboat, and in those days I was proud that he was my friend. He was a star on the basketball team. His attitude hurt his career, and some might say hurt his life. He did a great job on my pump house, which is white, with hunter green trimming. It hasn’t looked this good in fifty years. I told boat he did a great job. I paid him, and dropped him off at the liquor store, he was happy as tickled baby.
“Mom, I was laying on the floor eating a bowl of fruit loops and a thousand legger ran across the floor, and I spilled my cereal. Can I make another bowl,I exclaimed, exasperated.” “Stephen that was was your second bowl,” She said. Mom was on a food budget, and she would get angry with me when I ate so much. She sometimes put no bologna on my bologna sandwich in my school lunch because I had eaten half the bologna the night before. I learned to like a mustard sandwich, and I often would eat a classmates lunch.
You can live life scared as hell that something awful is going to happen. Maybe for example, a heart attack, and stroke that leaves you only the ability to blink one eyelid. These fears can be all consuming, especially knowing all the awful things that already happened in my past. Being scared is no way to live. Have courage, face your fears, fight your problems head on. Enjoy the fight, and remember everything can change at the blink of an eyelid
The cat was 200 feet away. It was a stray cat, resting on a stairway.
I told my brother, “Watch me hit that cat in the face with this snowball.”
I had a good arm in those days, but this shot was a million to one.
I threw that snowball as hard as I could in the general direction of the cat. A couple of seconds later the snowball came down and smacked the cat in the face. It shook its head and ran off.
We raised our arms and both yelled, “Yes!”
“Aunt City, can I have some of your country ham and cheddar spread?” I asked.
“Yes, honey,” she said, and then she would move her big body around that small kitchen.
With Dad and my three brothers in there too, aunt City might bump into you four or six times, just putting things on the table. I think she enjoyed the contact.
“Stevie, do you want that on homemade bread and Ritz crackers?”
“Yes, Aunt City, and a big glass of your spiked Egg Nog please.”
The calories consumed in the next hour probably totaled in the millions.