What Makes Things Go

imageMy big brother was always interested in things that ran, things with wheels, mechanical and motorized and intricately put together devices and how they functioned.  He loved mechanical sets and model airplanes and taking things apart to discover how they were assembled in the first place.  My dad often said if anybody could figure out how something worked it was him.

He wasn’t always a hundred percent successful.  I had an alarm clock with a face painted in a woodsy scene with two little elves moving up and down on a teeter- totter with each tick-tock.  I begged him to leave it alone.  And then one day, there it was, in a million pieces with my brother poring over the parts, happily working away on something that wasn’t broken until he decided to fix it.  The little elves never played on that see-saw again.

Not surprisingly, with all that practice, he became an amazing mechanic.  We learned to never ask him anything about our vehicles unless we wanted to listen to an hours worth of baffling diagnostic mechanical information.  Once he warmed to his subject there was no shutting him down.  Might as well grab a coffee and try to keep up with your eyes open.

There are a few of photos of me as a child with a cat draped over my shoulder.  It’s a mystery to me why a kid thinks a cat needs to be picked up and carted about, or why a cat allows it.  We always had outside barn cats, never house cats until we were adults.  I was afraid of dogs for a long time with a recurring nightmare of a big black dog chasing me.  No idea where that came from.  Anyway, there I am, confused by how happy my brother is to be making a little wooden tricycle go when there are cats to be lugged around.

Often we had cats of unknown origin on the farm.  They may have migrated from other farms close by or been dropped off in the country as discarded city pets.  They kept the rodent population in check and more or less looked after themselves.  Once we had a litter of all white kittens which we happily named Snow, Snowflake, Snowball, Sugar, Winter…every white thing we could think of.  They all ended up being called “one of those white cats” because we couldn’t tell them apart.  Later we progressed to more sophisticated cat names such as Spooky, Pooky, Donovan and Trigere.

In his last years on the farm dad had two almost identically marked cats he called Daryl and Other Brother Daryl.  He claimed to know one from the other, but I’m skeptical about that.

Despite all the cats, or maybe because of them, I never became a cat lady.  Although I suppose there’s still time for that to happen, if I ever get to missing a big furry body purring in my face.  My brother had dogs as pets his whole life.  Could be, compared to cats, it’s just much more interesting to figure out what makes a dog tick.

Sweet Shallow Sixteen

Sixty Four

Sixty Four (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt:  Sweet Sixteen  When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Really, how far into the future does a sixteen year old girl dare to gaze?  I don’t remember having any lofty aspirations about my future or any definite long-term goals.  The short-term was more than enough to keep me as completely stressed out as only a teenager has the energy to be.

If my sixteen year old self had drawn up a list of things I desperately wanted out of life, I expect it would have looked something like this:

1.  Get drivers license.

2.  Borrow brothers car.

3.  Find a boyfriend who looks like Donovan.

4.  Let hair grow super long.

5.  Get through second year of highschool with marks of 85% and up.

6.  Go on a car date.

7.  Be seriously kissed.

8.  Learn how to roller skate.

9.  Get a summer job.

10.  Buy some nice clothes.

11.  Have a clear complexion and perfect (PERFECT!) make up.  Every day.

12.  Wear panty hose with no runs or snags or holes.

13.  Figure out how to dance without looking like an idiot.

14.  Sit at the back of every class and pop glasses on in emergency situations only when no one is looking.

15.  Avoid all boys with agricultural backgrounds and even the slightest chance of having a farming future.

16.  Think up a really good reason for missing church and convince mom of its validity.

17.  Remember to shave legs

18.  Never ever miss a homework assignment.

19.  Buy enough records to fulfill membership agreement with Columbia Records and then quit before going broke.

20. Stop smiling so much, because it’s making weird crease marks on your face.

Till I See You Again

Till I See You Again (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s something to be said for making attainable goals, because I was able to check off every one of these objectives in my sixteenth year, right down to the Donovan-like boyfriend and getting seriously kissed.  Both of which scared me half to death.

When I heard a rumor that classmates thought I was a bit stuck up I decided to start smiling again.  If I’d worn my glasses I would have been able to recognize people from a distance greater than 3 feet, and perhaps that would have made me appear more friendly.  But the truth is I was very self conscious about wearing my glasses, and being shy and half blind can easily be misconstrued as conceit.  I was actually a very nice person, even if I wasn’t all that deep.

It’s impossible to say if my life has become what I wanted it to be then, because I had no clear vision of it beyond getting through high school and living in a city someday at that point.  Maybe I’ve never set the bar high enough, or been ambitious enough, or sufficiently driven and determined to do great things.  But I’ve also never really been disappointed in myself either, or dissatisfied with how things have played out.  Is that a good thing?  I think it is.

Hurdy Gurdy

(with appologies to Donovan and George Harrison)

I am the Hurdy Gurdy Man, singing songs of love.

I know man, I’m your biggest fan.

Really?

Yeah, ever since that day when I was down by the sea, gazing with tranquility, and your music came washing over me. I’ll never forget it.

Ah. Perhaps you were just one small voice in the crying of humanity.

Hey, I don’t cry man! Come on. I was just sitting there in the unenlightened shadows, and then you came along and blew them clear out of the water.

Yes. I suppose I did. Histories of ages past, down through all eternity – colossal bore, all that. Could do with some serious blowing away.

Yep. The truth was buried deep, beneath a thousand years of sleep. Your songs are gonna save us all.

A turn around is certainly overdue. Would you like to join me, singing songs of love? At least until the truth is found?

Oh man! I would follow you anywhere! I’ll even learn how to sing! This is the best day of my life!

I like you. I think I’ll call you Roly Poly Man. You can be my songs of love and transcendental consciousness awakening side kick.

Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy…..

Hmmm. Roly poly, roly poly, roly poly, poly… I think we’re on to something.

Hurdy Gurdy man, you are THE MAN!

And together we are ON A MISSION! Rock on Roly. Let’s get down.

Powered by Plinky