Conversation I had today while at the immunizations clinic with my 2 month old:
"I can tell she's your first," said the random woman.
"Really?" I said.
"Yeah, it's obvious" She said assertively.
Then, trying to be as kind as possible with a splash of sass I said. "Well, you may need to work on your deductive reasoning, because she's my second."
Unamused or embarrassed or confused by her own incorrect assumption, she walked away.
With the talk of the Skunk Cabbage in my previous post, my first memory of skunks surfaces.
Back in Utah we were driving off the highway when I first scented a skunk. Then I saw it lying on the side of the road. I wanted it- to save it of course. I didn't think it was really dead. Yeah, it was roadkill but I still wanted it. Please bear in mind I was about ten and nowadays I don’t go around picking up roadkill. I got my sister to come with me. My mother knew we were up to something ridiculous but never would have let us leave the house had she known we were going to find that dead, smashed skunk.
We brought a black and white shoe box. It was perfect because it even matched the skunk. We approached the skunk and then realized that its tail wouldn’t fit in the box let alone the whole animal. Also, it was definitely dead. Greatly dismayed at this we began our walk home. Then we saw the boy that my sister liked. He and his friends were taking little gardener snakes and drowning them. I was furious.
“Leave those snakes alone.” I shouted. They were two years younger than me and that meant that they should listen and obey.
“Why should we?” They taunted dropping another one of the worm sized snakes into the water.
“You give me the snakes and I’ll give you this box and whatever is in it.” I said, holding it carefully as though the contents were of great value.
“Deal.” He handed over the rest of the snakes that were still alive and the bucket of dead ones. I gave him the empty box. “You cheat! Give them back!”
He didn’t like the box but it was more than fair. We buried the dead snakes and brought the living ones home. I even took one to church with me in my scripture case the next week to show him that I had been taking good care of them. Unfortunately my mother caught me peeking at it during the meeting and made me set him free.
I have a very reasonable mother. I didn't know it at the time.
From the days of my youth I desired to have a tree house. My dad always said I would get one and there were many times I doubted him because well, kids aren’t all that patient and I was certainly no exception to this. My dad was true to his world though and we build a tree house at 136 Sincerely Road.
It was awesome. I could climb up through the trap door and stand on the first floor. There was even a little attic area where I could store things. I loved it. I loved the view of the woods that I had when I sat up in the pine scented room. I loved running circles up there around the tree trunk. I had even decided that the four walls would be painted after Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravelclaw and Slitherin. One wouldn’t have to know me long to discover my fascination with Harry Potter. I had already begun saving money for the paint.
Meanwhile, I had a mission. I was going to find all the different types of fungus in the woods and put it in the attic. I would pretend it was food. Don’t worry though. As a young child I learned the hard lesson that fungus is not for eating. I once popped a mushroom from the lawn into my mouth. It was a dose of ipecac and several moments of barfing later that I determined never to make that mistake again.
But back to my fungus collection that I was definitely not eating. I wandered that small area of woods for hours finding bugs and plants of all shapes and sizes. I had never seen anything like them in Utah. There was this plant called Skunk Cabbage. I know I have some oddities about me. One of which is that I actually do not mind odor of skunks. At all.
But again, back to the fungus. Skunk Cabbage is not a fungus
I gathered all the types I could find in my backyard and set them on the floor of the tree house.“Lara that’s gross,” my sister said upon seeing the huge pile in our shared tree house
“No it’s cool.” I assured her and she didn't touch them.
The next day I awoke with a strange rash on my arm. This must be a recurring theme in my life. For a few years earlier I had to miss school on account of a rash of blisters in my name on my arm. I hadn’t previously known that I was allergic to milkweed. I just thought they were nature’s quills. I wrote all over myself. I wrote my name on my arm. Come morning, I had blisters spelling out my name and blisters peppering my arms and face. I wish I had a picture of the blister name today.
But no, this new rash was not of blisters. My mom put cream on it just as any good nurse does. It didn’t go away though. Funny how doctors can guess at things so well.
“Have you been in the woods?” He asked me when my mother decided the rash was sufficiently strange and needed looked at by a professional.
“Any chance you were in contact with fungus?” He turned my arm to examine it more closely.
“Yes.” My mother had made a point of not telling him about the collection.
“I think you have found a relatively rare specimen because it’s now growing on your arm.” I admit it was cool.
My mom made me get rid of the fungus collection.
I had a wonderful teacher named Mr. Murphy. He was such a nice guy. I remember calling him mom one time and he said yes, with no reaction to my mistake. I wish everyone would disregard slips of the tongue like that. It was because of Mr. Murphy that I was given speech therapy. I learned to say my R’s. The Rickety Rackety Wagon Raced Down the Railroad Tracks. I would repeat that over and over again. I would get skittles if I said it right.
My brother used to tease me about my stuffed pig named snort snort. He was insistent on calling it Snot Snot. That infuriated me but instead of saying “It’s not snot snot its snort snort.” It came out like “S’not snot snot is snot snot.”
Fortunately I can not only pronounce the snot and snort; I can say Lara instead of Lora. As someone told me, it’s like larva but without the v. Sometimes now if I word has one r or a w, I mess up and say winder instead of window, or railwoad instead of railroad but overall I have retained regular speech and it has been a blessing in my life. Just about everything in my life has been a blessing.
Point being that it turns out R is a pretty important letter. Thank you Mr Murphy!