Tuesday, April 8, 2014
My Little Pony Undies
Four Reeses Walk Through a Corn Field, Down an Asphalt Road, and Into a Dried Up River
The first thing you have to settle on before you walk through a corn field and down an asphalt road to a dried up river is what the scenario of this particular adventure is going to be. Are we the boxcar children running from renegade grandpa? Civil war solders running from renegade Southerners? Maybe by some outlandish twist of plot we are the ones renegading some poor fools that are at the time hiding in the dried up river bed. Now is the time to settle all that and to also sneak out of the house while Mama is taking a nap with the baby and to never consider that you might need to wear shoes or that the truant officer might spy us across the alfalfa fields we’ll be tromping through. Our very white freckled foreheads tend to reflect the sun right into the very binoculars of the bus driver who tattles on us.
Josh is the eldest but Rachel is the most bossy. Peter is the most trouble but it is Hannah that this story is most about. She is three or four at time and far too much trouble than she’s worth but it’s either pull her along with us or sit at home and read one of Dad’s giant encyclopedias.
“Violet, hurry up; the police will soon find our foot prints,” said the beautiful, intelligent, Rachel or should we say Jesse. As you can see, the Rees children decided to play Boxcar children. Somehow, to play orphans is incredibly exciting when actually being one is incredibly sad.
“I have to go potty,” says the Hannah or Violet.
“Violet, you need to just go in the field like the rest of us,” says the Josh Henry who always gets to play the hero part just because he’s the oldest Rees.
“I don’t like to pee in the field. It rolls down my legs and mixes with the dirt and makes me muddy,” whined Hannah. She was always whining. It was her special talent. I’m informed that it might skip a generation so she might find great companionship with her grandchildren.
“Hannah, if you don’t go pee behind that tree right now we’ll have to hear you whine the whole time. Boxcar children don’t whine,” said Peter or Edmund or Benny or Prince Caspian or The Trouble Maker. You get who I’m talking about.
“Okay, fine. Don’t look at me or I’m telling on Mom,” she whined. She walked behind the tree and the rest of us, who were trying very hard to stay in character and do what Henry, Jesse, and Benny would have done, just ended up doing what Josh, Rachel and Peter would have done and still do. Of course, that meant snickering, guffawing, the boys squatting like a girl would and generally causing Hannah great irritation. Maybe what happened next was our fault but honestly I don’t see how it could be with a little girl like Hannah carrying on about us carrying on when she should have been watching where she was aiming. What happened, happened. We can’t undo it.
Hannah walked out from behind the tree with a pair of My Little Pony undies dangling from her finger as far away from her body as possible.
“They got wet,” said the out of character Violet.
We rolled our eyes. This is what you have to put up with when you take your whiney little sister on a walk through a corn field and down an asphalt road to a dried up river bed.
“Just hang them in the tree to dry and we’ll pick them up on the way back,” said the hero. It really was the most heroic way to save those My Little Pony undies.
She stuck them in the tree, did a little shimmy dance to dry off her legs and we were back on our adventure.
My dad told us never to walk through the corn fields because we will get lost and eaten by coyotes and what father wants to deal with that kind of ridiculousness so we would walk through only the first couple rows. We felt like we were in a jungle but we were also avoiding death at the same time. When you walk through a corn field in the Central Valley of California in the middle of August it feels exactly like a jungle on the equator. The humidity is squeezing you to death but gosh is it fun. The edges of the corn leaves make little cuts on your bare arms which combined with sweat, turn you into Captain Itchy.
We all made it through the corn field fine and maybe one of us felt an extra breeze blowing in from across the irrigation canal but she seemed okay with it. The asphalt road lead straight from our goat pasture to the dried up river bed which means the corn field was a detour but a necessary one. We ran along the asphalt road, our callused feet could walk on fire. We ran for quite some time seeing how the renegade grandpa was driving by in his car. It didn’t take long to get to the river from our house. We lived on what was called the island because the Kings River surrounded this part of Lemoore. They should have called it The Oasis because the river was almost always empty and crops were always being watered by wells. The asphalt road turned into a little burm and we made our way past the white trumpet vines, pausing for a moment for the girls to stick one in their hair and I think Peter tasted one. And then there we were at the long ditch full of sand. We slid our way down the bank and started filling our pockets with river clams as we liked to call them. They were about the size of our thumb nail with a light brown color on the outside and a little while spot near the point where they connected. They were treasure. We had jars of them in our room next to the pressed flowers we gathered from the fields.
Filling your pockets with river clams makes you so hungry that you run all the way back home, possibly forgetting something that you hung in a tree, and sneak into the freezer to steal chocolate chips out of the 20lb bag that mama buys form the food co-op. We added our pocketful of river clams to the mason jar in our room that the ants would find later.
And then foggy gray Winter comes. Gone are the walks to the river. We would all be so busy watching PBS and reading encyclopedias that that Summer day of wet undies just wouldn’t come to mind. Then came Spring in the Central Valley. Hannah and I would go out every day and gather up fiddle neck, shepherd’s purse, wild radish flowers, wild mustard, and put them in a vase on the table that would make a big mess and have my dad proclaiming “What are those weeds doing in here” in his teasing way. Still no one had a thought for what became of the old friend drying in the tree.
Then one day Peter walked in with a outrageously sheepish grin. He held in his hands the fossilized My Little Pony undies. He laid them in front of Hannah in all their glory. They looked like a paper mache project gone completely wrong.
And that’s why you learn how to properly pee in a field when you’re walking through a corn field, down an asphalt road, and into a dried river bed.