Tonight I laughed until I gasped for air and then laughed some more. That doesn’t happen very often, but then I seldom have an uninterrupted conversation with my daughter. Not that this one was entirely uninterrupted—two cats, three dogs, and a boy’s worth.
I was about to tell her about the time when Benny Tucker stepped . . .and that is as far as I got. She said, “at band camp” and started laughing. After she explained the reference, we were both laughing. I believe the name of the movie was “American Pie,” but she assured me that anyone her age would throw in the “at band camp” if I started a story out with “there was this one time . . .”
Our conversation got around to rats, mice, and snakes and she related that she wouldn’t go swimming in the lake at night on their last camping trip. Her husband and friends kept insisting that she should come in with them, but she told them that if a snake came out and wanted to play with them, it wouldn’t enjoy her company. About that time she saw a small snake near the shore and had a hissy fit. When the others saw the snake, they were impressed that she would even watch for such things. They just did not grow up on the lake with all the snakes around like she did.
Then we talked about her stepping on the dead snake and running all the way back to the house while her brother and Jimmy were shouting at her that it was dead and her shouting back that she didn’t care—it was a snake!
Our children knew to watch where they put their feet and watch what was moving around them. I suppose that is one of the funny things about Benny’s story. He went rabbit hunting with my brother and Dad. The rabbits were just thick that year and must have thoroughly enjoyed Granddad’s latest young wheat crop. But the “hunt” took the three guys out into tall grass near the bottom of a draw. Not a rabbit was jumping up to run out of the grass—until they suddenly heard a rabbit squealing as if something had caught it. They stood still and looked all around, and the sound was too close to be out too far. Then Benny picked up his big foot and the little rabbit took off. That rabbit was saved by laughter!
Then there was the time that our oldest son went to look for more cucumbers in the garden. The children never went out that they were not reminded to watch for snakes—and it wasn’t just because I was afraid of snakes. But that day the reminder was just a little off. When something moved in the cucumber patch, the child panicked, got tangled up in the vines, fell face first into the cucumber leaves, and came eyeball to eyeball with . . . a big toad. That’s the kind of “snake” I like.
Raising children can be pretty rough sometimes, but when they are old enough to share some of the memories, it makes all the rough times more than worth the effort. And if they have an uncle who will teach them to fly a kite to drop parachutes and use cardboard boxes to slide down the stairs, well, the possibilities are almost limitless for good stories to share with THEIR children. It’s true that we learn to admire our children with our minds, but we always love them with our hearts.