Just popping in to wish any of you who celebrate it a happy Easter, and share a photo from Easter past. Oh, to return to those carefree days, when all you had to worry about was whether the whale had left any chocolate coins in your Grandpa’s dresser drawer since your last visit. Yup, those were the days.
Several days ago, WordPress posted a prompt for bloggers that looked something like this:
Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
Seriously, a dime? My 40+ year old eyes are supposed to read the very tiny inscription telling us the date a dime was made? Hmm, let me hold it really far away … is that a 1, 9, 8 … 2 maybe? 7? Do I dare step across the hall to the 20-something and ask him what year this dime was made? Admitting that I can’t make out those tiny numbers would be admitting defeat, which will never do. So I squint. The real problem here is that the last number is worn down – there’s almost no impression left on the coin.
I’m pretty sure the top of the last digit is curved, which rules out the 7. Besides, this is my blog, so I can pick whichever year I like best, right? I thought so. Though both were fun – when 1982 began, I was a freshman in high school, and when it ended, I was a sophomore. Progress! When 1987 began, I was a sophomore in college, and when it ended, I had moved across the state to live with a cousin and taken a boring job for very little pay. So as you can see, they are both stories worth telling. And in both cases, some things are best left unsaid.
So, 1982. It was an innocent time. I hadn’t yet begun wearing neon, backcombing and Aqua Netting my bangs so they’d stand up by themselves or wearing different (very large) earrings on either ear. I had just begun learning to talk a little bit Valley Girl (ohmahgawd, like, so awesome for a small town, Eastern Oregon girl). I was awesome at Ms. Pac Man, and less so at Q*Bert. I had two sets of Deely Boppers, and wore them. A lot. Actually, because I liked to be different, I had the ones with pinwheels on them, instead of the foam balls that looked like antennae. Like, seriously awesome.
Mostly, I was an average high school kid, getting good grades, obeying my parents, teachers and coaches, participating in volleyball, basketball, softball, Girls Athletic Association (because girls weren’t allowed in the Letterman’s Club until my senior year), Pep Club, FHA, band and choir at my high school, and terrorizing my siblings whenever possible (they started it). I drank Tab because it was the only diet soda that was made. Sometimes, I kicked the Tab up a notch and dropped Lemon Heads in it, again, because it was, like, awesome to the max. School dances were in the cafeteria, and consisted mostly of sitting around chatting with my friends. Also, punch and chips. Possibly rolling my eyes at my sister and her latest boyfriend doing whatever it is that high school kids do at dances when they’re a couple.
I wore my Pep Club t-shirt to all the games to cheer on my schoolmates. You
know the one. White shirt with green trim around the neck, and long green sleeves with “85” on the left arm, and “Ang” on the back. Instead of calling me “Anj,” which is what I believed the back of my shirt read, my family began calling me “Ang,” with a soft g. Not funny, Family!
My sophomore year, I made my own prom dress, and attended the dance with a senior. Because breaking out of my shell meant doing things others might see as outrageous, my prom “date” was a girl. She didn’t have a date, we were friends, we went to the prom and hung out. It was fun. Especially when we left early to get Baskin Robbins.
1982 was the year I first traveled alone, and the first time I flew in an airplane. Coincidentally, it was also the first time I got very bored in a conference, and wished I could be outside shopping, or pretty much anything other than sitting in that room with several hundred high school sophomores.
It was a year of growth and change, with some self-discovery thrown in. It was a very good year.
I’m a little late for Father’s Day, but nonetheless, wanted to wish all the fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, cat fathers, dog fathers – who am I missing? – out there a happy day. I hope you let someone else run the barbecue just this once.
In honor of Father’s Day, 13 Very Important Things I Learned From My Dad.
They don’t build outhouses on big foundations. Also see: your cousin wears shoes until his toes poke through the end. You don’t need new shoes.
At some point in my early teens, my feet started to grow, and grow, and grow. There was no stopping them. I bypassed my mother and older sister’s shoe sizes, and soon was wearing my brothers’ shoes. They finally stopped at size 9. I, on the other hand, was 5-foot-4 on my tiptoes, and about 110 pounds soaking wet. Pretty sure I didn’t need size 9 feet. I was lamenting this one day, when Dad told me “they don’t build outhouses on big foundations,” meaning, I was a mansion, not an outhouse. I think.
A foreign language. Also see: certain words are only suitable for use when fixing a tractor.
My dad is Basque. His parents both came to Oregon from the Basque Country, and spoke only Basque. As small children, my sister and I asked my dad to teach us Basque, and he taught us to say “big pig” and “little pig.” Not only did we have a grand time insulting people at school, we also got much enjoyment from ridiculing my mother when she pronounced the words wrong. She rolls her Rs funny. Bahahahaha! There were other Basque words which I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to hear. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much repetition of them, so I’ve forgotten them all. Silly Mom, with her rushing us into the house, calmly saying, “Dad’s fixing the tractor, we need to go inside now.” Just think of the fun I’d have now, calling my co-workers names in a foreign language, if only my Mom hadn’t been so short-sighted.
When Dad says, “Stop it, or I’m going to pull this car over,” he’s not kidding. And he doesn’t care whether you’re close to home and people you know might see you. Bend. Over.
Anything can become soup. Also see: Mom’s sick and I have to feed four kids. I’ll throw all this stuff into a pot with water and call it good.
I’m not sure what else to say here. When Mom wasn’t feeling well, and Dad took every leftover out of the fridge, added water and made soup, it was some of the best food ever. Young gourmands, we were, and our dad was a master chef.
God doesn’t care what you’re wearing. Also see: stop asking me how you look and get in the car, or you’ll be late for church.
That lesson, God doesn’t care what you’re wearing, he just wants you to come see him on Sundays, was a lesson our minister could have used, when he chastised two teenage boys (from the pulpit) when they showed up for services on a Saturday afternoon wearing shorts.
How to dribble a basketball on gravel. Also see: no, I will not put in a concrete driveway, so stop asking!
Not much else to say here. We tried dribbling on the gravel a few times, gave up, and went back inside to cultivate our love of reading.
A little hard work never hurt anyone. Also see: time to put on your irrigation boots. Or grab a shovel, or a mop, or a bucket to pick up the walnuts off the lawn, or feed the cattle, or … you get the picture.
Sometimes to get a calf to take the bottle, you have to stick your fingers in its mouth. Also see: yes, I know it’s gross. Shut up and do it.
To be fair, it wasn’t all the time, and only when the calves were really, really young, and didn’t know those rubber things we were shoving in their faces provided them food. But calf saliva is so slimy, and I was a girl.
Cattle can be ridden like horses, but it’s probably not a good idea. Also see: your cousin does a lot of dumb things. Don’t try to be like him.
That’s right, Gus trained a steer to let him ride it. Briefly. Dad let us watch once. Funny stuff, watching Gus get bucked off a small steer. My sister says she remembers riding Sergeant the steer. She probably did. Not me. Wouldn’t touch that “opportunity” with a 10-foot pole.
If you break a rule (or a law), you will get busted. Also see: the neighbors calling to report Angie speeding while driving home from school.
From an early age (Mom has eyes in the back of her head), we were conditioned to believe we would get in trouble if we did something wrong. Other kids could get away with it, but not us. I’ve seen other kids get caught, but for the most part, even as adults, we’ve not dared test Karma to find out what would actually happen if we tried something forbidden.
If Susie jumps off a cliff, should I let you do that, too?
An old parental standby. Though seriously, I wasn’t asking to jump off a cliff with Susie, I was asking to watch the same television show!
We have no rattlesnakes here. They all live on the other side of the river. Also see: Angie’s face years later when I realized that not only might a rattlesnake slither across the bridge to bite me, RATTLESNAKES CAN SWIM!
If you run away, don’t take anything you didn’t come with. Also see: that suitcase you have packed that’s “hidden” under your bed? It stays here.
Running away naked is not a tempting option for a 10-year-old. Running away with out my blankie and doll? Not happening.
What are the key life lessons your dad taught you? Any special memories you want to share?