Let me start right off by saying there is no way I ever want to enter into a pissing match with Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess about who had the harder childhood.
Mine could never compete with the therapy-inducing “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel.” And for that, I’m thankful.
But, as I started reading her book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened last week, the chapter titled “My Childhood: David Copperfield Meets Guns & Ammo Magazine” did bring on my own set of flashbacks that I felt compelled to share, since, you know, it worked out for a book deal for The Bloggess and you just never know…
Early in my childhood we did get our water from a well. Not the kind Jack & Jill went to, but also not one with radon like Jenny’s family. And also, we moved up to “city water” not too many years later, so that doesn’t really count, other than just to say, I understand what “beige” water is like.
I, too, grew up with furniture dedicated to the storage of guns aka the gun cabinet. Ours was not just a free-standing cabinet, though, ours was built into the custom home my parents designed and we moved into when I was four. Not only did we have a built-in gun cabinent in the house, it was given a place of prominence in our living room – right behind the television. It did also include a bow and arrows, although my father did not use his as often as Jenny’s dad did.
I do know what it means to clean a deer, although standing in one is not something I had the misfortune to do. (read her book to find out more about that one) Luckily, the only wildlife I remember my father cleaning in our backyard was fish that were hung from the frame of an old swing set.
While my father was not a taxidermist like Jenny’s, he did do his part to keep them in business. In that same living room/main family room of the house with the gun cabinet, the walls were adorned with (from left to right in the picture here taken before my Senior Banquet) deer, javelina, antelope and bass. (not pictured – a turkey, too) I never really thought it unusual until friends visited from college. Didn’t everyone have stuffed animal heads on their wall? Oh, and did you catch that I called it Senior Banquet, not Prom? That’s because proms have dancing and we couldn’t have dancing. Seriously. I lived Footloose.
I, too, went to gather the chicken eggs once and found a snake. Well, no. That’s not really true. It turned out just to be an old biddy that wasn’t too happy I was sticking my hand up over my head into a box I couldn’t see in and into her business. Because I’d been warned enough that snakes could possibly be in the coop at my grandmother’s house in Arkansas, my childhood mind equated the squawk of the hen to the hiss of a snake and eggs went flying as I ran screaming into the house. My brothers must not have been around or I’m sure I’d still be hearing about it from them (along with the periodic torment I still receive over a Scooby Doo-induced nightmare).
And finally, hobos didn’t eat my pet duck, but I did eat the cow that I bottle-fed as a calf. I know that sounds harsh (and The Bloggess’ PETA friends will probably now come find me), but he had it coming. Oh sure, they start out all cute and sweet and you feel sorry for the poor little orphaned baby. Then, before you know it, the yearling is nearly as tall as you, weighs much more and thinks that butting you upside the barn wall is fun play. When you try to run away, the game becomes chase and when you look back to see how close he is on your heels you turn around just in time to see nothing but green as your face slams into the side of a John Deere combine. As you roll under the barbed wire fence to safety and notice the blood dripping from your nose, a steak dinner starts sounding pretty good.
I’m still reading the book, and laughing out loud, so there’s no telling what else might pop up that I feel compelled to share. Since the book I finished just prior to this one was “Fat is the New 30,” you’re forewarned that my Deep South roots may just start showing more than they have on this blog before.
What about you? Have any down-home stories to top these?