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My Cousin and Her Ax

My grandparents' barn in Clyde, Ohio where I searched for Jessie Simmons' Tongue.

Growing up, and still to this day, my grandparents live on a nonworking farm.  But the barn and the shed still stand.  My father stores his lawn mower and snow blower there.  All of Grandpa’s recycling makes it out to the barn, as well.

But when we were young, the barn was a magical place with old cash registers, rotary phones, stolen road signs, cat skeletons, new litters of kittens, Jessie Simmons’ tongue, and so much more.  We climbed into the hay loft, back into the granary, and underneath the woodpile.  We knew the barn so well, yet we were surprised by every nook and cranny.

Most importantly, the barn was the battleground of many different fights between the Big Kids and the Little Kids.  Right now, there are 10 grandchildren on my maternal side: (from oldest to youngest) Heidi, Heather, Meghan, Erica (me), Hilary, Devon, Jason (my brother), Britta, Cory, and Clay.  Heidi, Heather, Meghan, and I were the Big Kids.  Everyone younger than me was a Little Kid.  (I think I only made the cutoff to keep the number of Big Kids even.)

But our favorite game was acting like separate gangs.  The Little Kids always wanted to be Big Kids.  “You can be a Big Kid when you’re 7…8…9…”  we told them.  Whatever my age was was the age you had to be to be a Big Kid.  Of course, they never passed me in age (and they never seemed to catch on, either).

Hilary, Devon, and Jason just took this bullshit for a long time.  And then Britta was born.  Sweet little Britta, who just stared at us from her pumpkin seat.  And then she started to walk. Out in the barn one day, we were having an epic Big Kids versus Little Kids fight and Meghan and I were standing on the side of the barn when out walks two-year-old toddling Britta with an ax in her tiny little hands. 

And then she chased us.  I don’t know why.  Maybe she’ll comment on this and let us all know…but I think she was sick of the Big Kids bullying around the Little Kids.  I do believe the gangs were a little more accepting of each other after that, but we still fought for the pure amusement of it.

Love you, Britt!

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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Raspberry Blood

Sure, I played Red Rover, Mother May I, Red Light Green Light; we’d all played those. We’d all had our share of kickball and baseball, tag in all its variations and climbing trees, exploring the drawers in the bathrooms and playing house. But it gets weirder. The games my cousins and I played turned into faux violence, like the copy of Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger that Meghan and I tried to watch all the time.

We were Winesburg’s berry pickers, eating the pesticide-ridden berries off of the trees by the chicken coop.  Over and over our parents warned us, but we saw no immediate danger.  With stained red fingers, we chased one another until we fell into the grass laughing.  It looked like blood.  We walked back over to the bushes, and I smeared raspberry guts between my fingers, across Meghan’s brow and down the corner of her mouth.  Meghan had recently crashed the green mo-ped behind the barn, and it scared everyone shitless.  The panic, the alarm, it was intoxicating and exciting.  So exciting that we wanted to feel it again.  So I smeared Meghan full of raspberry blood; the gorier the better.

We created intricate shark attack scenes in the pool, any sort of red mess sloshing about us. And we yelled for our parents, and our grandparents.  To us, this was normal.  We loved to see them run toward us, to see the look on their faces when they thought we’d been hurt.  Of course they were smart enough to see the raspberry seeds in the blood once they got close enough to us.

It was all pretend, but you can imagine our excitement when we heard about a real disaster, a scene with real blood, that had happened on our grandparents’ very farm…

Check back tomorrow for the next bloody disaster. 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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