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WAIT! Just One More Thing!

Chatterings of a Loudmouth

If You Give an Islander Kid a Fire…

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You can imagine that living on an island we spent a good chunk of time gathered around a fire of some sort. Maybe a bonfire on the beach or just a small campfire outside our cabin on the warm summer nights. And as they say, once you give some islander kids a fire, they’re gonna want some smores to go with it.

You know how it goes… The parents send you on the hunt for a good twig or if you’re lucky, they pull out the metal sticks that are actually specially designed for the job. But no matter which type you were privileged with, I can bet you still got the ‘Don’t jab anyone’s eyes out’ speech, followed by the passing around of sugary goodness, the grams, and the chocolate! Step one: You have to toast your mallow to perfection. Now this is the hardest part… because everyone’s perception is different. You have the just warm mallow, the golden brown, the Hawaiian vacation tan, and then coal.

Now me being young and inexperienced in the art of toasting sugar blobs..I always ended up with charcoal marshmallows and my family always made fun of me. There was no way I was going to let that harassment continue…So instead of looking like a fool of course I told them that I prefered my marshmallows; burnt to the core. Years went by and I forced myself to eat black marshmallows just to save face, I didn’t want them to know I just sucked at smore-ing.

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Where are all the Knives?

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If someone told you there was treasure near your house and all you had to do was go out and find it… Wouldn’t you? Treasure is so exciting! But I don’t fully understand why we get so excited about treasure. I mean sure, as an adult we know we wouldn’t have to worry about the power bill for a while but as a kid we don’t really need money. We don’t have that drive to find financial stability or the other perks to having money. But somehow the thought of finding treasure is still fascinating. Perhaps it is because the possibility of finding evidence of another life is captivating. Or maybe it’s because it was so unlikely that we would find something that was deliberately hidden from us, and the thought of finding it is thrilling?

Well, whatever the reason, as kid when my dad told my siblings and I about the tale of a young man who robbed a bank and hid the money within the islands we lived in, we got real excited. Legend has it that he stashed it on one of the islands in the San Juan’s, probably in some cave, but no one ever found the young man or the money. So naturally us kids decided that it was on our island and we had several ideas where it could have been hidden. And from that point in time on we rushed through our chores so we could spend as much of our time looking for said treasure. We searched and searched and everyday we thought it was going to be THE DAY. The day to get lucky and stumble across the riches. After a while we ran out of obvious places to look and most of my siblings gave up on the search. But my brother Joey and I stayed strong. We were going to find it. It was only a matter of time.

Near the house we found a huge boulder, right down the middle of this particular boulder was a rectangular crack. Almost as if part of the rock was cut out and then put back and sealed. This is where the treasure was. I knew it. We just needed a way to get inside the rock. This is where our unique skill set would come in to play. I needed something to chip away at this boulder, that way we could eventually break it open enough that the treasure would just come pouring out. Perhaps we’d find some Spanish coins… So I went inside our little cabin and stole a steak knife. We carefully and skillfully chipped away at the rock. It was a slow process and not to mention dangerous. Danger and fear lurked around every corner. Danger that we would hurt ourselves with the knife, fear of getting caught by our parents, and fear of getting a piece of rock stuck in my eye. Ahh… the things one will do for treasure. Eventually the knife we were using got really dull and eventually broke. No big deal though… my siblings and I were great at sneaking in the house and stealing any type of utensil needed for the job. Need to dig a hole? We could steal a spoon, no problem. Need a knife to scrape at a rock? Done. We were pros at this point. And if the parents asked why the supply of knives was slowly but surely depleting? Don’t make eye contact and never admit fault. They’ll drop it. Eventually… Just like we eventually dropped looking for the treasure… Hey! We’re only capable of so much determination!

So it didn’t exactly end how we imagined. Instead of pile of treasure, we got a pile of rubble from the damaged boulder, a pile of mangled knifes and a pile of questions from our not-so-happy parents. 2791392589b7a5b8dea1644cacf

Anxiety Says They All Hate Me

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When a person gets angry, or annoyed, they hold themselves differently. I swear I can feel the energy in the room change too. I am usually the first person to know when someone is mad. It’s a great skill to have but pair that up with anxiety and it’s an entirely different story. Anxiety is the evil step mom that lives inside your mind. At any point in time I get the feeling that someone hates me. I did nothing to make them mad, there is no rational reason why they should hate me but I still get the convincing and persistent thoughts that a particular person doesn’t want to be around me. I can try to argue with that feeling but more often than not my anxiety wins.

It doesn’t matter who they are: mom, boyfriend, best friend, grandma, mailman… They all hate me. If they don’t talk to me for a while? They hate me. If I send a text and they don’t reply? I’m annoying them. They are avoiding me. Eventually I think of every possible reason they should be mad at me: rational or irrational and then I begin to feel guilty. I begin to tear myself down. I begin to hate myself. Now me being a particularity annoying person… I will then ask the person if everything is okay, ask them why they are mad at me. This could happen everyday or sometimes multiple times a day. Usually they just laugh and tell me that they aren’t mad at me, that they could never be mad at me. But then there are the times where people get mad.

“You know, I have so many things on my mind, I am really stressed out. Who do you think you are that when you see someone upset, you assume it is because of you? You are the LAST thing on my mind. Everything is not about you April! You assume that everything is a result of your actions, you aren’t the center of the world and this just shows how conceited you are.”

I mean who wouldn’t be mad if someone kept asking if they were mad? Right? But the negative thoughts cloud my mind, and I have to know if what my anxiety is saying is true, or even partly true. I want to FIX the situation. Make them happy.

I believe that the reason why this really bothers me is because I really do care about the happiness of others and I want to make sure that I am not the reason for their suffering. But after thinking about it for a long time, maybe the reason I ask them if they are mad is for a selfish reason too. Once I hear the person say they aren’t mad at me, then I am freed for a breif point in time from the negative and self destructive thoughts that plague my mind.

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Pushing the Envelope

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My grandma LOVES humming birds. And when I say LOVE I really do mean the full meaning of the word. When I would visit her we would sit outside on her wooden bench on a hot summer day, binoculars in hand and we would watch them eat out of her multiple feeders strewn across the yard. She would also have a pen and notepad, writing down what every single humming bird looked like.

“Look April! I think I have seen this little guy before! Lets name him, since it seems like he’s going to stick around.”

He was a little green fella, and we sat there brainstorming name ideas. Greenie, Evergreen, Verde… That’s when my dad walked by, “Diarrhea! Wait no… Explosive Diarrhea! Yup. Thats what his name name will be.”

Of course my grandma and I got really mad, probably slapped him on the arm, and continued to brainstorm.

When the family visits to grandmas ended, we returned to our little island in the San Juans and back to our usual lives. Hauling water from a little spring on our property to wash our laundry, chopping and stacking wood, and playing in the forest we called home. One day I was playing outside and I stumbled upon a hummingbird laying on the ground.

He is so beautiful! I wish grandma was here to see him, humming birds always made her so happy. Perhaps I could write her a letter and tell her all about him! But it wouldn’t be the same. Even if I described him perfectly in the letter, it would never be as good as seeing him in person.

Thats when I had the BEST idea ever! However I had to be very discreet, this was going to be a tricky task and if anyone found out what I was about to do, I was going to get myself into big trouble. But I was brave. I was a good liar. And I had a mission to complete.

I run inside and head straight to my moms craft tote. I rummage through it until I find the supplies I need to pull this off. I run back outside and carefully wrap the humming bird in the off white tissue paper and place his tiny body inside of a little white ring box. I bring the box inside and straight to my room. I grab piece of paper and start to write a letter to my grandma, describing the situation and telling her that no one could know about the secret package. I remember one specific line I wrote that was extremely crucial.

Grandma, no matter what, you can’t send me a letter back saying anything about the ‘package’… THEY will read it and THEY will find out!

Finally I had it all squared away and I take the package to my parents. This was going to be the hardest part. Parents.  Always asking too many questions. But I got lucky this time. And before I knew it the package with a dead bird in it was whirling through the American mailing system 1000 miles to my unsuspecting grandma.

Just as I had asked, I didn’t hear a word from grandma. But after a while I started to worry. How did she react? Did she like him? Did he even get delivered? Oh my gosh! What if she was mad?!?! I didn’t know what to do. 

After a while I guessed I would find out next time we visited her, but we didn’t visit grandma for a long while and I soon forgot about the little hummingbird and the box, and the years passed by…

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I walked through my grandmas door and gave her a big hug as she sat on her bed. Above her bed sat a huge shelf full of stuffed animals that my grandpa won from the machines in the grocery stores. You know, the one with the big claw, that literally no-one wins. Well he was a lucky guy I guess because he won all the time and he would collect them over the years. That would be the reason why my room is filled with stuffed animals to this day. Anyways… Everyone gets settled in and is visiting amongst each other when my grandma leans over and whispers in my ear.

“I got the package and he is safe.”

I was confused. I had no idea what she was talking about. But then my grandpa took me into the garage to their freezer and he opened it up. Among the Otter-pops, popsicles, hamburger, and other frozen foods, I saw my little white box.

So after all those years, my grandma had kept my promise and my dead hummingbird in her freezer.

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The Perfect Plan

On a little island in the San Juans there was a small cabin built on a side of a cliff, constructed of random scrap material. The old gas station door opened up to the bowling alley counter tops, a drift wood rocking chair and about seven other people and a Brazilian mastiff who also called it home. The cabin was amazing and so was the island. You were surrounded by trees and where there weren’t trees there was ocean. There were no stores, no gas stations, no theatre, no restaurants, NOTHING. And that’s just the way we liked it. 

But as you can imagine… A big family living in such close proximity, there is always bound to be some friction… And in my case… There was A TON!

Well one particular day I was walking back from a nearby spring where we gathered water to wash our clothes. I had a five gallon bucket in each of my hands and as I near the house I hear my dad yelling at my little brother. I don’t remember what my dad said or why he was yelling but all I remember is having Joey tell me how rude dad was being. Now Joey and I were pretty tight. And no one was going to disrespect him! Not my bro! Oh no sir! We had had enough of this life and we wanted out! We wanted to be free of parental rule and scrutiny. So after finishing our chores, we met up by the pond and made a plan to run away…

Where would we run? There was no way we could get off the island. So we had to find a place to bunker down in. A place where we could live, where they would never find us, never even suspect. Maybe the barn? No they would find us there surely… Maybe the donkey hut? No… Too small and drafty and we would always be fighting space with the donkeys…. Hmm… I’ve got it!

On the walk to school we pass by a little path that shoots off from the main gravel road. The path is all mossy and we had found out on a previous adventure that there was a little hut up there. It would be the perfect place!! Now we weren’t complete nuckle heads we knew we needed food as well as shelter. There was animals we could hunt and catch, but we wanted a life of luxury! Of freedom! 

We wanted popcorn, fruit roll ups, graham crackers the whole nine yards! That’s when a little cupboard came to mind. In our little one room school house, where our mom taught us math and all that jazz, there was a little snack cupboard… Yes! That’s exactly how we will eat. We will steal the keys to the school from mom and she won’t notice they’re gone. Then we will come sleep on the couch at school during the night. We will somehow wake up really early before anyone gets to school and we will go hide in our little hut down the road during the day and return every night for the cosy couch and the delicious snacks from the cupboard. Those snacks would be our main source of sustenance. They won’t notice any of the snacks going missing at all! As we slowly eat it… They will slowly refill it, one fruit roll up at a time… 

The plan was flawless. Now all we needed to do was execute it. I lay in bed that same night, my eyes closed, but mind alert listening to everyone around me. I wait until I know for a fact that everyone is 100% in a deep sleep, when I reach over and shake Joey’s shoulder. He was sound asleep but he jolted up, opening his eyes and covertly telling me we should wait a little longer to make the great escape. I agreed maybe we should wait a while longer. As he went back to sleep, I started thinking about all the stuff I was going to leave behind, when I suddenly realized… Why not take it all?

I quietly sprawled out my red cotton blanket on the floor and started piling my stuff into it… Books, toys, clothes, everything! After the pile in the middle of my blanket got full I grabbed all four corners and twisted it up planning on throwing the Santa sized nap-sack over my shoulder. What didn’t fit in my nap-sack went into a blue Rubbermaid tote. Everything was going to go out my window, onto the roof and down a latter. It was all packed up and I sat in wait a little longer to wake Joey once more.

When I opened my eyes, the sun was shining through the window. I jumped up and looked around me, and frantically I shake Joey awake. “Joey we missed our chance!! We slept through the night!”
 Joey who had already snuggled back up against his pillow, mumbled, “Don’t worry April we can always do it tomorrow night.” 

I couldn’t believe we missed our window of opportunity! I was more angry with myself, than anyone. How could I have fallen asleep? We got up and started doing our chores and I kept going over the escape plan in my mind to make sure it went perfectly this time.  
A few hours later Joey approaches me. 

“Dad talked to me about yesterday, he apologized for being mean. So we don’t have to run away anymore.”

I wasn’t mad. I was a little relieved actually. But there was one thing that still plagued my mind… A red blanket and totes shoved full of belongings scattered across my bedroom floor… 

I’ve got A LOT of unpacking to do

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