Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dragging reluctance -OR- A Day in the Life of 4 (almost 5) year old Rehctaw

Those vivid childhood memories. Being dragged by the arm, hand, ear, scruff or hood by a parental unit or other "responsible" adult; through, to, toward, up, around, between, under, over or any of those other pesky preposition propositions. Up the stairs, away from the precipice, off the playground, out of the store. Often risen of anger, anxiety, fear, frustration, but always hemmed by love and concern. Occasionally, in attempting to extricate oneself or one's child from a predicament, there arises a totally new and different sticky situation.

Oh noes, not another LEARNING EXPERIENCE!

Once...Twice...Several... Lost count how many upon a time(s), during the growing up phase of my tenure here I was harnessed to my paternal grandmother for excursions. Grammie was a short, but powerful (to a toddler) woman who lived with us and filled our free time, oversaw our unstructured activities and provided that extra pair of hands that every parent wishes they had. She played a mean game of Canasta, always managed to distribute the peanut butter and jelly in the perfect proportions, could clean and bandage cuts and scrapes, mediate the typical sibling disputes... In general, she was everything a kid could want in a caregiver.

Being only human, she made mistakes. Had good days and bad days. One particularly bad day (for me) happened when I was four, (almost 5) years old. It began routinely, taking the trolley bus, tranferring to another to reach the five and dime in Chicago's Madison and Pulaski shopping zone. Her load lightened as my older siblings were home with Mom. Just me and Grammie, going to pick up more something that was unavailable in the more local shoppes. A skein of yarn perhaps? Trips to the five and dime were wonderous things to a four-year-old, but not this day. For reasons I've never known, this particular day, I was being herded more than normal, dragged, hurried and reprimanded by this woman on a mission.

With me dangling from her left hand we made a left turn into the aisle. On the floor, at the base of the display shelves there was a long row of small wooden crates that immediately caught me feet. Being still hung from Grammies hand clutching my wrist, I was dragged across the crates. Thumping and bumping, then screaming in anguish and pain. The crates contained all variety of CACTI.

My vocabulary skills being that of a 4 (almost 5) year old, I was unable to say ala Stewie, "Excuse me Grandmother, but we seem to have encountered a hazard. Could we stop dragging my legs and buttocks through the CACTI?" No, I was cursed by the stereotyped recalcitrant, defiant child in a store having an "episode" scenario.
Hoist on my own petard so to speak.
I cried through and out of the store, onto the two trolley buses, being forced into a SEAT and told to "knock it off". I was a human pin cushion, but lacked the verbal skills and credibility to convey my plight.

Finally reaching the safety of HOME, I went screaming to my mother who immediately noticed the stickers and needles in and around the irritated portions of my exposed skin. I was calmed, soothed, cajoled and stripped of my clothing so the offending plant material could be removed. First with tweezers and then medical adhesive tape, (the precursor to duct tape). Being 4 (almost 5) I was not fully understanding or appreciating the laughter my own mother tried, but could not suppress while nursing my wounds.

Grammie meanwhile was suitably remorseful. A running mantra of "I didn't know. I'm so sorry". She ran a warm bath, laced with oatmeal and other remedy, into which my
ravaged body was immersed once the gross removal was complete. My brother and sister seemed to take a perverse enjoyment from my suffering. So it goes with siblings.
Since my wounds were no longer life-threatening, the mood further lightened and the anecdote became REGULAR fare, woven into the "Darndest Things" segments of family lore. Repeated, ad nauseum, with only small embellishments since the "transcript" itself, was difficult to improve. First Dad when he got home, then friends, neighbors, relatives...

I am Rehctaw! I am Legend!

There is no real moral to this story. Yeah, it happened. No, it didn't kill me. It only embarrassed me until I owned it. Myself and my siblings are the only living witnesses who remain. The story rarely, if ever, comes up anymore. It's dated? Been outstripped by later calamities in the "only Rehctaw" files?

I share it here because, looking back, it was funny.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

damn, that's a nice countdown clock. wish i had one :)

nice story, too.