Little Arthur and the Rabbit Hole

Yeah, just like Alice, except I was called Angie growing up. Then again, my brothers decided to nickname me, Little Arthur. Why? Who knows! It did start with an A and I was pretty little (for a little sister that is), all of eight years old. I’m kinda fond of it now, but back then it made me madder than a hatter, which is exactly why they called me that.

My brother Lonnie was eighteen months older than me and my oldest brother Jay was three years older than me. Lonnie discovered the rabbit hole one day when he was (can you guess?) chasing a rabbit when it darted out of sight. It disappeared in a fluff of tail. We were all fascinated to find this gem of a passage hidden at the edge of our front yard. We stood and pondered it for a long while – trying to get brave enough to enter the land of no return. Where did it go? And what awaited us down there?

We lived on a street that dead ended, in a country community outside of Ada, Oklahoma called Pickett. This place was probably home to under a thousand people. It boasted a school and mini mart. No traffic lights at all. About five miles away was the “big” town (featured in John Grisham’s An Innocent Man – notoriously that is). Ada, home of Blake Shelton, and approximately twenty thousand other not as talented folks. I still remember from town to our house, we crossed three bridges until our street, just past the last bridge on the left.

The last crossing was over the biggest river. The tale (true or not I still don’t know, nor will I ever) entertained that this particular stretch of river was home to vicious water moccasins and a thirty foot long Alligator Gar (or was it fifty?). An Alligator Gar is both Alligator and Fish, in other words, a BIG MOUTH with lots of teeth in a long alligator jaw that swims with its big FISH TAIL. It lives in the water among the cotton mouth snakes swimming and hunting for prey – like little tasty girls. This scared the willies out of me. I stayed well away from that river and was even on edge when crossing the bridge. How the boys fished there? I’ll never know. I think they wanted to catch that Alligator Gar and become legends.

In case you haven’t figured it out….we lived very rurally. Like I said, at the end of the street, literally, our driveway was the end of the road. In front, and to the right of the road was deep woods. Virtually impassable on the right side, although we tried many times but the brush was just too thick. Forward from the driveway/road, a forest of trees, but these were more sparse, with a pathway that led to a mostly dry riverbed. You could get all through the woods via the riverbed and never get lost. There were turtles, snakes, and HUGE spiderwebs. At the time, none of that bothered me in the least. I grew up with brothers, right? I got my ewww on a few years later when my tomboy days ended.

We spent endless hours in those woods stomping all around, discovering nature, dirt, and hide and seek at it’s best. Seriously, can hide and seek get any trickier than in the woods?

But the rabbit hole was something special. More special than climbing the Oak Tree in the front yard, reaching the tippy top just as a gust of wind bent the thin branch clenched in tight fingers, threatening to blast your grasp and drop perilously to the bottom.

More special than walking the field behind the house where more snakes lived than in the woods probably because they feasted on the mice. I swore I heard rattler tails.

Even more special than the spacious back deck where you could play with your camper Barbie vehicle like they were REALLY camping, because – well – they were.

It was even more special than trekking behind the field past the blackberry bushes to the cow pond for a dip. Just don’t get in a mud fight with your brothers because you might find out later – that wasn’t MUD.

Yes, the rabbit hole was the escape and the refuge. It was a magical place to enter. The tunnel was just about the right size for me to crouch down inside. It then dropped to a canopy room that was delightful; covered and hidden. I imagined many tea parties there with a certain busy rabbit. The back portal led to our favorite part of the trail descending to the river bed. Funny I could never find that entrance from the other side, I could ONLY get there through the rabbit hole.

Growing up country was dirty, free, and enchanting. I’ll never forget my favorite hang out – the rabbit hole – with some soft hopping friends that I hope didn’t mind my intrusion.

My favorite childhood memory? The many adventures in our all natural playground. Maybe that’s why I am so carefree as an adult. Maybe that’s why I love geo caching and discovering new treasures. Maybe that rabbit hole opened our minds to endless possibilities as we courageously sought new paths. Or maybe…..growing up in the Oklahoma dirt? Wasn’t so bad after all.

Mama's Losin' It
My writing prompt: Childhood memory time – Write about something you loved to do as a child.

I don’t “do” Black Friday

It scares the wee out of me.  Aggressive trampling crowd, elbows flying, sprints to endcaps, a tug of war over the last one, where you end up beaten bloody on the floor -crying Mama – while you rock back and forth sucking your thumb.

Um, no thanks!  Okay, I’m sure that’s not what really happens, but I have no desire to find out otherwise. I’ll just lounge in my PJs, thankyouverymuch.

Yesterday was my first Thanksgiving with Jason’s family. His mother graciously welcomed me, my mother, and my daughter Sydney to the grand feast.  The table was decorated with ceramic pumpkins, fancily folded napkins in rings, and beautiful china. The food was a foodie lover’s dream, so friggin’ delicious. She went above and beyond. That is one mother who LOVES with all her heart, and it spills over into all the hard work she puts into this Thanksgiving dinner for her family.

Even more beautiful was the children racing around, giggling, screeching, and constantly filling their bellies. I have decided my delight in  children comes from a long line of family genes. Goes back as far as we know to teachers in the previous generations. Except it ended with me, because I loved travel more, but I digress.

I got a kick out of watching my mother, mingle, laugh, and enjoy the meelee. Most of the children in our family are grown, so this was a sight to see and reminisce.  It was eerie how well she fit in. But I’m not surprised. Good people with the same values, and upbringings as ours, which is why I love them so much.

Black Friday kicks off the start of the countdown to Christmas.  Black Friday is a shoppers dream. Black Friday reminds me of the time my car was broken into. I was running on the trails in Fort Worth.  It was somewhere around six or seven miles.  I get back to find a policeman next to my car which has a shattered drivers side window.

That wasn’t even the worst of it. My purse was in the car. Yes, I know –  how dumb. I went to the back hatch opened it, popped the hidey hole, and voila there was my purse. Then I checked the middle console where my keys were (to the car, house, etc). Yep! Still there. Oh the cop was none to happy about that, but seriously – jogging with a big wad of keys? – or jogging with a very small remote to the car? Yeah, I chose remote – shamefully.

I was very lucky. I never parked there again, and at the time – I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to jog again. Husband 2 was a tyrant. He went ballistic over this infraction. Of course, it was my fault, and I was never to jog again, EVER. Insurance does not pay for that, so we had to fork over a few hundred dollars. Some Black Friday, huh? See why I don’t like them.

But the gift was that it could have been so much worse, being my purse was in the car, and keys. All I lost was a lousy tinted window.  I have never parked there again, in fact, I started parking in a shopping center and walking to the trails. I never, ever took my purse with me.  So, it all worked out, I got to keep running at my favorite park and learned some valuable lessons.

That brings me to what I promised myself, that I would begin a series of posts,  from now until Christmas titled Timeless Gifts. You know what those are – things you can’t price – just revel in the majesty of the gift. Instances of  kindness that blow you away, or movement of the season to make you really realize what Christmas is all about. An unbelievable act that has you falling to the floor, shouting  “I’m not worthy!”  Yeah, those kind.

I have a lot of those in my life. The car breakage is one.  Can you imagine right before Christmas to have your I.D and bank card stolen? It would have made for a tough time, to deal with all that, and wonder if you’d ever be safe again – not to mention the fallout, and punishment from #2.

I, for one, was very grateful it wasn’t that bad and still am. My eyes were opened to the Timeless Gifts that happen all around. I hope I can share them with you. I hope I do the stories justice in the coming weeks. Until then….

Happy “black” Friday! I hope you get gifts galore at half the price.

I wanna Rock!

rb2

For all you gamers out there who play Rock Band on PS3 or any other console.

Meet Ava, actually it’s ava, she doesn’t punctuate. She doesn’t! ava is one of my alter egos. She is most like me, except she plays drums in a band called The Stonecold Steve Austins. Yeah. She didn’t make the name up, for one it’s punctuated, for two it’s a guy name, and for three they are not wrestlers. Duh.

The band consists of the leader who is Steve Austin plays guitar. The singer Daisy, blonde hair, zebra pants, with a cute pink halter top (perfect 15yr old rendition). She’s all that. Then the band’s bass player is Jolt, soap star looking blonde with a big tattoo on his chest. The singer really digs Jolt.(Jolt, 16yrs old been dating Daisy over a year) He plays with his shirt off.

Before ava joined the band, the previous drummer was named Jade. Long black hair in dreads, pale skin, big green eyes with a nose piercing. She wore a leather jacket with a hot pink bikini top sporting leather pants. Jade ROCKED. She had a silver drum set. Seriously! She was crazy cool (and sooo unlike me).

See, Jade felt out of place. Everyone else in the band was themselves, or most like themselves. So she left – promising to return and jam again when the mood so strikes – and ava joined. Daisy thought ava looked fat and she can’t stand the fact that she wears a pink top with jeans, and the jeans have a red belt, that doesn’t match. What-evah!

Thing is, whether it’s Jade or ava, neither drummer has ever gotten a 100%, even on EASY. It’s an elusive feat for both of them. And not because of practice either, when Jade started she barely made it through a song without failing out. She just banged away until the song ended if she couldn’t catch the beat. Believe me sometimes her beat was waaaay off.

ava comes along with much more experience, but still misses the mark on 100%, every time. She has made a promise to herself, as soon as she peaks the score, and snatches that 100%. It’s medium all they way baby!

Last night’s JAM, NOT resulting in 100% – again.

Truly, I wasn’t a gamer until I met Jason. I had no idea what I was missing. It is a fun family activity, that everyone can enjoy. It’s also a great way to enjoy music. We don’t just have Rock songs, we have country, Christian rock, and metal. There is a variety. My favorite right now is Kings of Leon.

I don’t let it get me down that I can’t quite attain the 100 score. I just keep playing with all my heart. I keep trying. I love this game. I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime…..I WANNA ROCK!