Before I left my stretch of gravel road and cherry trees, my brother came over at midnight and we burned my stuffed bunny. Like the pagan kings of old.
His name was Easter and we first met on the day I was forced to breath for myself. We had many exploits, most of which included bandages with red marker stains and mobilization to concentration camps. Right about when I became more sentimental than imaginative, Easter became torn in ways that were embarrassing to him and he took refuge in the attic (among close friends who loved him for who he was and who he had been).
As I packed my life up, he came out of hiding and sat on my dresser (his self-consciousnesses mellowed with age). I thought to bury him with a few other relics so he would not be forced to leave his homeland, but I was in a back brace and it hadn’t rained for a long time. And then I was going to burn him but burning season was over. (And, please don’t say I should have thrown him away. You do not throw away your childhood and/or those you love. You say farewell. There are rituals. There is honor.)
So…we have a barbecue.
Thus it was that my oldest brother, a father of four, business owner, and general valiant man on this earth, came and helped me wrap up Easter and joined us in the parting glass (and/or shot of vodka) and lit the flame.
I’ve always been a strong advocate for not growing up.
And I think I still am.
But there is a difference between willing retaining pieces of your early identity and wonder and pretending that everything will always be pretend concentration camps (substitute with Barbies or train engines, if that was your thing. I am very happy for you and congratulate you on your possible need for less counseling).
In one way, you must be allowed to change. In another, you must remember what it is like to hold on to what inspired you. Mocking what was dear, never gets you anywhere. (It’s also probably a deadly sin in my family’s psyche.)
I really don’t know where this is going…except to horse sausage.
You should understand that in the days of my youth I was obsessed with horses. The originality of this fixation is humiliating. I raised and nurtured hundreds of rabbits, sheep, and goats in my search for something that could be led by a halter and potentially kill you (and cost you $$$$). I owned all the books. Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West flowed from my felt pens and earned me my biggest government check to date when my hieroglyphics won Special Award at our county fair. In it angry men drove scratched and bleeding stallions to their certain doom. This was more or less the peak of my artistic career and similar drawings fill my sketchbooks.
I also learned to scorn journalist and believe good fiction was the only answer to life’s complicated problems (this is likely to be true for 6-year-olds). I also distinctly remember a vow never to become a teacher, because teachers all became a certain way, and while that might be fine for them (I was a generous child), it was not okay for me. I also whined regularly about going to our church camp…or traveling anywhere.
Thus it is that this silly, wandering, wondering girl sits…
in Ukraine, eating horse sausage, teaching English (sorta…not really), writing a terrible blog post to distract herself from her journalist work.