It brings me great pleasure to introduce this new series on TheNHBushman.com – Stories From My Past. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time as I frequently tell stories of growing up as a child or young adult to my family and friends who urge me to write about them. So, this is the first attempt at doing so, with this first articled entitled, The Trick.
I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, the eldest of 4 children. Behind me is sister Janet, followed by sister Nancy, and then brother John. Naturally being the eldest sometimes made me a target as the other children felt it necessary to “take me down” from time to time. Often that involved some kind of a trick that would point blame, and therefore The Wrath of Mother down upon me. Kids are always playing these kinds of tricks on each other, and this has not changed over thousands of years. Our family was no different, at least in that regard.
On this occasion, Nancy had been trying to figure out something that she could get me to do that would get me into trouble. The Goal of course was to get a smack in the least; a full fledged beating would be the ultimate attainment of this Goal. Nancy decided that I would have to do something bad to her personally and that meant she would have to bear physical evidence of abuse somehow. This is how kids think, mind you.
On that fateful day, Nancy had been taunting me. This was nothing more than the usual, everyday kind of stuff that siblings do to one another in order to invoke a response. We had been playing outside in the yard and she had been bothering me. I grew tired of it and hopped on my bike, riding up and down our street. Apparently I wasn’t responding according to plan and Nancy wasn’t going to get her evidence with which to attain her Goal. This was going to take something drastic. This particular plan to trick me required a higher degree of enticement.
As I turned around at the far end of our street Nancy calmly walked out into the street. I thought she was going to throw something at me, so you can image my surprise when she laid down on the road in front of me. As I passed by she she made The Challenge:
“I dare you to run over me!“
Now what would sibling rivalry be with out those dares? They’re so effective! But I’m not so easily duped. A few more passes, a few more exchanges, and of course, assurances that whatever the outcome, The Wrath of Mother would not be invoked. But I should have known that was just a ruse, and on some level I’m sure I did know that even at that ripe age of 10. Mother is always invoked when there is physical harm! So this was Nancy’s plan – get me to run over her so she could run crying and screaming to Mother so I could get my smack or better, a beating.
Nevertheless I did feel like running her over just for doing what she was trying to do. A few more passes, a few more reassurances and I lined my bicycle up, going for a clean run over her legs. Even as a young man I was already quite tall (too tall for the US Space Program at age 12) and my parents had bought me a 26″ bike when I was 8 years old. Those large diameter tires rolled right over her legs with ease.
Naturally she got right up and checked herself out. No crying, fussing, nothing. I was amazed.
Apparently I had not provided her with the physical evidence she required, so she laid down on the street once again, beckoning me to run her over – only this time, her body was not perpendicular to the street. That’s right: she wanted me to run her over lengthwise. I grew tired of this enticement. On the very next return from the far side of the street I gathered speed and headed right for her!
The tread of my 26″ bike front tire bit into the flesh of her left thigh, and the bike rode up on top of her leg like the ridge of a mountain. Then the front tire found it’s way along her left hip, up through the center of her chest and ultimately traversed her face, just to the left side of her nose. The front tire had completed it’s mission as the rear tire traced a nearly identical track.
Sporting 2 black tire tracks along the entire length of her clothing, and with the best possible evidence of all – 2 clearly visible tire imprints on her face, Nancy literally leaped up off her back and went running into the house to find Mother, all the while building up an intense cry as she ran. By the time she found Mother in her bedroom applying her makeup in preparation for her departure for work, Nancy had worked herself up into a pretty good frenzy.
“Momma, Michael ran over me on his bike!” Ahhh…. The Payload delivered!
The sound Nancy had been waiting to hear! Only it didn’t quite work out the way she had planned.
“What were you doing in the street” was Mother’s question accompanying the The Wrath.
You see, Mother has 2 brothers too….
My sister was completely unhurt by this incident. She washed the tire tracks off her face, but Mother’s hand print remained.