Having lost power for several hours last weekend due to a storm, memories emerged of a column I wrote years ago for Louisiana Conservationist magazine. With your indulgence, I’m sharing that column with you.
DRAGGING A TEENAGER DOWN MEMORY LANE
As I have experienced more and more birthdays, I have noticed that I seem to possess the uncanny ability to dredge up and bring into sharp focus vivid details of things that happened to me ages ago. It thus seems a paradox that I can’t ever seem to remember where I laid my glasses. It takes very little to get me off on a stroll down memory lane taking with me, whomever happens to be within earshot.
My most recent, if reluctant, companion for a trip down the lane was Melissa, our teenager. She actually had no choice because a brief but savage storm had zapped us, rendering inoperative everything electrical. And that included TV, stereo and jam box. With no juice, there was no “Night Court” re-runs; no screeching disc jockey spinning such ditties “I’m Too Broke To Pay Attention, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”.
Boredom was closing in on her, so I mercifully came to her rescue. Sitting her down, I began blazing a trail down memory lane, kicking off with a phrase teens love to hear from the lips of their parents…”When I was your age…”
Not wanting to appear overly eager to hear my “back when” stories she masked her glee with a facial expression like the one you get when the dental assistant comes to the door, calls your name and asks sweetly, “Ready for that root canal?”
“Back when I was your age, we didn’t have electricity, television , running water, indoor plumbing but boy, did we have fun!”
“You wouldn’t catch us sitting around the house bored. No sir-ree, we’d go down to the creek and catch frogs, crawfish and bugs.”
(I think I’m going to be sick…)
“We’d take the shovel and dig in cow patties for fish bait. Then we’d go catch us a bunch of mudcats.”
(Well WHOOP-de do…) “And we’d go snipe hunting down in the deep woods after dark. You talk about scary, especially when the rest of the kids went off and left you all alone there in the dark holding the sack and waiting for a snipe. Bet you’d get a kick out that, wouldn’t you?”
(I can’t believe I’m missing Three’s Company…)
“And the games we played…deer and dog, red rover, pop-the-whip. Then for some real excitement, we’d sneak over after dark and turn over a neighbor’s privy.”
(Dear Lord, PLEASE make the power come back on!)
“If you can find an old inner tube, I can make us a sling shot. When I was your age, we’d get us a pocketful of rocks, take our sling shots and shoot snakes, turtles and frogs.”
(Personally, I’d rather have chicken pox…)
Without warning, the power came back on and, like a shot, she was up to the television.
“Wait,” I called after her, “I didn’t get to the good part about how we made flying jennies and cars out of grandma’s snuff bottles. By the say, have you seen my glasses?
(You’re wearing ‘em….)
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