Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Confessions of a Happy Childhood- Ch.1

For a long time, I've wanted to write a book with that title. There are so many books out there about people and their lousy childhoods. It might be refreshing to hear about someone who was actually happy growing up. I was. Don't get me wrong, we had our struggles. We were very poor, we had lots of kids and we moved alot. We never went on a fancy vacation, lived in a big house or drove nice cars. But, somehow, amid all that, my parents managed to raise us in a happy household. I often look back and try to figure out their secrets, because I want my kids to feel the same way. I think the biggest thing was that my parents have a sense of humor. We laughed-a lot. We still do. I thought I'd share some memories from our amusing adventures.

We moved when I was in the 8th grade. We left Arizona and landed in a small town in Idaho. My dad was hired to run a dairy farm. We had about 200 cows. Now, we had lived in Idaho before, but this was our first experience on a farm. We learned quickly about getting up early to milk cows and feed calves. (Blech! NOT an amusing memory!) One of the best things about the farm was all the room to run and play. I wish my kids could have that experience- having acres of land to just run wild. I don't wish it enough to live on a farm, though. We played outside all the time. This was before computers or Wii's, Atari wasn't even around, yet. We had maybe 3 channels to watch on TV. So, we played outdoors. We also played together, brothers and sisters, because the nearest neighbor was several miles away. We were always happy when people would come to visit.
Now, here's a little dairy background. Cows do four things really well. 1-They eat. 2-They make milk. 3-They make excellent steaks. 4-They poop. In order for them to make milk (or become steaks) they have to eat-a lot. Because they eat so much, they also poop- a lot. When you have 200 cows that are pooping all day, you have to get rid of said poop. So, my dad, or brothers, would drive the front-loader down the pens and scoop the poop. It would get pushed down to the end of the pens and there it would sit- a great, big pile of poop. Well, it was more like a pool. Yeah, I know, gross. But, it was a part of the dairy and as kids, we knew where the poop pool was and avoided it.
Now, one time we had some friends visiting. We were outside, of course, and we, the older girls, were running away from the little boys. We ran past the poop pool and looked back to see our friend headed right for it. Oh, another background note, the poop would crust over on the top, so it looked like you could walk on it. You can't. We yelled at her, "Look out, it's poop." (We probably called it manure, I'm not sure. My mom wouldn't have approved of us calling it poop.) She stopped, or tried to. With her speed, she sort of teetered, arms waving. Then, her momentum got the best of her and she went forward. She put her arms out to catch herself. Which she did. Problem was, she was up to her elbows in crap. What did she do? She cried. What did we do? We laughed. Hard. That might seem like an insensitive thing to do, we were pre-teens, after all. But, really, what good would it do to cry? I highly doubt you could come up with enough tears to wash off that much doo-doo.
Here's what I've learned from this. When life throws a poop pool in your way, and it will, you have a few options.
1-Know where the poop is. This isn't always possible, but sometimes is. Especially if the poop comes in the form of temptations or consequences to bad choices. If you know where it is, you can avoid it.
2-Listen to the people who've been around and know where the poop is. If someone yells, "Look out! Crap ahead!" Pay attention. (Of course, it helps if they give you enough warning.) We have these warnings alot. Food storage, savings, spiritual preparation. There's lots of poop coming in this world, and there are people who are trying to get us ready.
3-When you find yourself elbow-deep, or even knee-deep in cow pies, you can do one of two things. You can cry. Or, you can join the others and laugh. There's a great quote by Marjorie Pay Hinkley, "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache." I agree with Sister Hinkley. If you're going to laugh about it later, might as well laugh about it now.

2 comments:

  1. Thats hilarious! Loved the analogy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your first chapter is hilarious! Of course, if you've never lived around a dairy, it wouldn't be quite as funny. Great analogy.

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