October 28, 2017

A Story


Many years ago, I wrote this very story for my son, Jesse.  Since it's nearly Hallowe'en and it's a story set at Hollowe'en, I ask him if I could share it.

Let me say that John, or Johnny is a great name, but people do have preferences and when my son was young (perhaps 6 or 7) with a mind of his own, he said what you will read as the last sentence in the story, but not in this context. 

If your name is John or Johnny, or you know someone who's name is John, please do not take offense and send me an email. When it comes to names, we all have our preferences, especially an opinionated 6 or 7 year old boy whose own name was often misspelled with an ie, which he found tedious.  He still does. :)


                                                                  Not Johnny

    He had decided earlier that afternoon to go out trick or treating.  His mother said that he wasn’t too

 old to go, but he felt old—old because at ten and a half he was just an eighth of an inch shy of five 

feet eleven inches. He considered his height a curse, but the ungainliness it had brought with it

was the worse.  Lately he kept crashing into tables, chairs, electric poles, closed doors, and various

 other things that, although he tried hard to avoid, always seemed to be in his way.

      He had stared at his mother when she said he wasn't too old to go, and, of course, she was right. 

 But what she neglected to mention was his height. She knew, although she hoped and prayed that it

 wouldn’t happen, that distant neighbours would say to her son, when they opened the door to greet 

his cry of trick or treat, “You’re too big for this!  How old are you, anyway? And when he truthfully 

answered ten and a half he’d hear a resounding, “Yeah right!”

               Tonight he would be what? All he knew was that he wasn't going to wear that stupid pony 

mask his mother had bought him. There had to be something in the closet. As he dug around on the 

floor he thought about being a cowboy, but he couldn’t find his cowboy hat in the rubble, though he

 kept pawing through baseballs, bats, soccer balls, hockey gear, and two pairs of skates and old 

running shoes that gave off aromas of places he had been and wished to be again.

               Finally he gave up the search and sat down on the edge of the bed and looked out 

 the window at the old oak tree that was tenaciously holding onto its leaves. Upon reflection he felt

 that biggest curse about being tall was that everyone expected him to be perfect. He couldn't

 horse around like other boys, couldn't get away with a thing.  Everywhere he went someone was 

always yelling,  "You're too big to act like that."  So to stay out of trouble, he tried to act like an adult,

but under cover he sported his youth.




   Being tall made his life difficult in so many ways. Why even his bicycle had betrayed him by 

shrinking into a contraption that bruised his knees. So while his friends talked about and couldn’t 

wait to be grown-up, he spent a lot of time, laying on his captain's bed with his feet dangling 

over the edge, day dreaming about being a kid.  

     And being a tall daydreamer didn't help either. “It’s damn ridiculous to be this tall at ten and a 

half,” he’d yelled at the top of his lungs when he banged his head for the third time. 

His mother said many things as she patched up his skull. Although he knew better, he had half 

heartily listened just in case there was a point. What was the point?  The point was that his mother 

just didn't get that he was too damn tall. He eyed her suspiciously. He wondered if she had 

heard anything he had said because she just kept blathering on about swearing, about having all of his

limbs, a roof over his head, good health, and had rounded it off, while he looked at his big toe poking

of his nearly new sneaker, that she and his father worked very hard to put food on the table. And if

that wasn't enough, she added in a strained voice, “Young man, go to your room, and don’t come

downstairs until you write down a hundred things that you are grateful for.”  As he stomped up the

stairs, he promised  himself he would never, ever, say anything remotely like that to one of his

kids.

               He pulled the chair out from under his desk, turned it sideways, sat down, stretched out

his long legs, slipped a notebook out of the drawer and scribbled: What am I grateful for in a

bumpy graphite script that he underlined in red ink before tucking the pen behind his left ear. Clearly,

he would be grateful if he had a larger chair, but he decided against jotting that down.

 What was his mother going on about anyway? Of course he was grateful; he wasn't a total wash

out.  But a half an hour later the empty page was still glaring back at him, and then, without warning,

inspiration struck, flooding his brain like sunshine.  With his brow in a buckle and his eyes dancing

with intensity, he slowly printed in bold letters:   

 1 – 100.  
  
 I AM GRATEFUL THAT MY NAME IS NOT JOHNNY.  

                             Always fun at Pumpkin Inferno. Apparently,  you can do a lot with pumpkins.
           

                                 While these carvings are all miraculous, I especially admire the Girl  with  the Pearl Earring.


         

                                              
                                                                                                 * * *


                              I'm slowly adding autumn leaves to my hawthorn berry painting. 


Enjoy Hallowe'en!

'Til Next time...                                                    Cultivate your dreams.
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