Friday, August 7, 2009

Tale of Tales

Tale of Tales
When I think of the Grace of God, I must be in the top 10 of His examples. When I reflect on my 58 years and all the things I tried and that I’m still alive, only his Grace could be the answer.
I was raised in a family of 7 children so mischief was my middle name. It started early with me and matches. There was something about striking them and watching the glow. By the time I was 6 years old I was considering a career in arson or pyromania. I wasn’t content with striking them. It was more fun to set dry fields on fire around our house in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of my playmates across the street Cyndi who was my age was Bonnie to my Clyde. She loved to watch me set fires and I was eager to impress her with my fiery abilities. Until one day, I got caught. An especially dry field across the street and next to Cyndi’s house was set ablaze by a single match. Up until then, I was able to put small fires out by stomping on them before they got out of control. Not this time! A wind caught the flame and before we knew it a major fire had erupted. I tried putting it out with a garden hose from her house, but to no avail. I tried spitting, stomping, throwing rocks on it, but this day nothing worked. We both split the scene and before I knew it fire trucks could be heard with sirens blazing in the distance. Cyndi snitched on me to her mom, probably to save herself, and my mom prosecuted me seriously with a switch of my choice! They had nabbed me---
Figuring a career in arson and pyromania was not a wise choice, I embarked on my next move. My mom and dad put all of their cancelled checks in an ice cooler. Now, being a 6 year old, I didn’t know anything about economics or money. I thought those checks were cash, after all my parents used them to get whatever they wanted. So, late at night when they were asleep, I crept into the closet where they kept them. I reached in and grabbed a handful of checks thinking I had hit the jackpot. The next day I rode my bicycle down to the local Pak-A-Sac and proceeded to the checkout stand with candy, toys, soda’s bubble gum and pretty much everything else I wanted. The store clerk looking down upon me suspiciously rang them up and gave me the total. I pulled out my new found wealth and deposited them on the counter fully expecting to leave with my purchase. The clerk laughing told me that checks weren’t money and to put it all the goods back up. I didn’t understand. I still don’t!
Again, frustrated with the lack of career paths, I decided on my next move. My next door neighbor, Frankie was a year younger than me. Frankie was kind of a sissy so I could push him around. However I was afraid of his mom who always seemed to be yelling at him, FRANKIE!!! Frankie got an allowance of 50 cents a week and I didn’t get anything but whippings. This wasn’t right in my eyes. So, I thought extortion could be a career path. One day I caught Frankie outside away from his Frankenstein mother. I shoved him up against a wall under the carport and told him that if he didn’t give me his 50 cents I was going to beat him to a pulp. Since he was wimpy and I was older he readily gave in. Handing over the loot to me I told him if he told anyone there would be trouble. Thinking my career in extortion was off to a good start, I hurried to the Pac-A-Sac and redeemed my parents cancelled checks with extortion money from little Frankie and this time I left with some goods. By the time I got back home, my mom and Frankie’s mom were lying in wait and this time, mom had a finely tuned switch made of the finest Louisiana hardwoods waiting for me. Wop---- I’m still looking for you Frankie!
What’s a 6 year old suppose to do? Life was harsh and I couldn’t find my direction. One day, my older brother Mike and our next door neighbor Charlie invited me to tag alone. At the far end of the neighborhood was a small cattle ranch that raised Brahma bulls. There was an especially mean one. He was a huge black snort snottin bull that would happily end my life if he had a chance. He also had a reputation for being able to jump the barbed wire fence that kept him in. He didn’t like passer-bys, especially little rebel rousing kids like myself walking by and yelling at him. This day he would get his chance. I’ve been known to take a dare or two. Mike and Charlie dared me to get in the pasture with him. They told me that if I got in there and started laughing at the bull, that he would chase me. It sounded like fun to me and maybe this was the beginning of a new career in rodeo. I slowly crawled through the barb wire fence. Killer bull was on the other side of the field so I felt safe and was emboldened to run at him yelling, laughing, and waving my hands. As I looked back over my shoulder to show Mike and Charlie what a rustler I was all I saw was their backs as they had taken off running across the street, through another barb wire fence. I turned around and much to my surprise this snot roaring behemoth of a bull was on a dead run at me. The ground was shaking, dust was flying, birds were scattering and my little Louisiana ass was running for a nearby tree. Scampering up that tree next to a huge bayou filled with alligators and water moccasins as big as this bull, I plotted my next career path as I waited for the bull to give up on having me for lunch that day-----
To be continued----

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