We lived on an acreage in the country when I was growing up … it was on a blacktop road about six miles out of town. I’ve come to realize, watching my friends’ kids grow up in neighborhoods, how different their experiences are than mine was. When I hear of them running to so-and-so’s house, playing in different backyards, not being sure where they are but yet sure they’re ok… I realize I would be an extremely over-protective mother because I never had that experience.
I always knew where my mom was, she always knew where I was and I only played with my siblings. Well, I tried to play with my siblings. They tried to set me in front of the sprayer on the sink, convince me it was hooked up to a speaker they could hear me through, and then rode off into the sunset without me.
But I digress.
The point is, we didn’t have neighbors to have play dates. Except for the junk yard boys.
About a quarter mile down the road from our farm, there was a junk yard that looked just as your mind would imagine it from a movie. Rusted out cars, half-beaten down fences, overgrown grass and mean old barking dogs that were always kept just a little too far out on their chains. When we’d ride bikes past the opening to the junk yard I’d peddle as fast as I could as my brothers exclaimed those dogs were going to pull off their chains at any minute. Immediately beyond the dogs was a bridge that my brothers tried to convince me wasn’t very stable and could collapse at any moment. Again, prompting me to peddle as fast as my legs could take me.
I’m thinking my brothers should have thought ahead to the fact that I’ve always loved writing, because I now have a forum to out them on all their shenanigans…
Needless to say, the junk yard could get my imagination going. It didn’t help that the family who lived in a trailer at the junk yard housed two boys who were as rough as the dogs they owned. They didn’t go to our school, but they rode our bus, and in first grade one of them punched me in the stomach because I wouldn’t give him my gum. Pretty obvious why there were no play dates with our one set of neighbors.
Growing up, when anyone would ever utter the phrase, “What are we going to do with you?” my dad’s favorite quip was, “We’re going to throw her in the junk yard!” He always had silly little phrases you could count on as replies, and they have stuck with all of us through the years. I eventually thought it was a funny phrase, but I’m not going to lie… I always had a twinge of nervousness when I was little at the thought of being thrown in that junk yard. Probably helped keep me on the straight and narrow a little bit. :)
I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped myself from uttering the reply, “Just throw me in the junk yard,” in the past week or so, because I’ve heard, “What are we going to do with you?” in many a conversation. I think I’m a pretty uncomplicated person, but apparently that’s to offset the fact that I have a body with a penchant for attracting medical complications.
Feeling worse instead of better wasn’t the direction I was hoping for, but it turns out I’ve developed what is called Cushing’s Syndrome as a complication of the steroids. There’s a whole lot of symptoms and side effects that I won’t bore you with now. We’ll just say I’m feeling quite weak and tired and have been missing from here for more days than I meant to be because of it. I’ll be messing with medication changes and other such fun stuff, but just wanted to let you know I’m still here and kicking. And Riley is still here and being ornery, too, so all is right with the world in that respect.
So if it takes a few extra days for you to hear from me, just know that odds are someone has finally made good on the threat to throw me in the junk yard.
You can come looking for me there. ;)