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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Detours

 The street in front of the bank where I work, is under construction. I don't know what they are doing, exactly, but it involves tar, gravel, orange cones and very slow traffic. I don't care for any of those things, so I took a little detour. I drove down a street lined with small wood framed houses and grassy lawns. There was a young girl sitting on the front steps of one of those houses, and it was like a picture from my past. It was the same house where I had babysat the entire summer I was fifteen.
 The first day of Summer vacation, my parents woke me up to tell me, I would not be sleeping late and going to the pool everyday, because they had made a commitment to their friends. I would be their Summer babysitter.
 My mother drove me there every morning at 7:30. If I was lucky, the little girl would still be sleeping and I could get in a nap. But most days she was up and watching Captain Kangaroo. I tried to convince her, Sesame Street was a much better show, but at two, she already had a mind of her own.
 She really was a sweet little girl, and we got along well. Her parents provided me with a bike to ride, that had a child's seat. So we would ride all over town. Thinking about it now, she really needed a helmet, as I was not so coordinated, with the extra weight on the back. I wonder if she has headaches or blurred vision now. hm....
 At fifteen, I didn't handle dirty diapers very well, so I decided to potty train her. Her parents were thrilled. To this day, I'm not sure how I managed it.
 I cleaned house for her parents and made lunch for them every day, all for 15.00 a week. And, yes, even way back in the 70's that was slave wages.
But, it was a fun Summer. We sun tanned in the backyard while listening to the best music on A M radio. We made cookies and colored in coloring books. I bought her some chalk and we made a mess of the sidewalk.
 After lunch, when she was napping, I would talk on the phone or watch soap operas, or smoke her parents cigarettes on the back porch. I didn't really like smoking, it was just the idea of getting away with it.
 It may not have been the best Summer ever, but I get a good feeling when I think of it, or when I hear the music we listened to on that old radio. It's like a detour for the mind.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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