First Memories

“If that were true,” my husband once said to me, of my past “You would not be the way you are.” My answer to him was that everything I’d said was true. And it was. Who would know better than I about my life? How could he presume to know more than I, who had lived it? But the seed of self-doubt was planted. The self-questioning began. Did such and such really happen? Or had I imagined it?

The question led me in circles without end.  The confusion mounted and had to be stopped. Okay, I said to myself, this much I know to be true, so I will build on what I know. The one who calls himself (or herself?) the Alpha and the Omega sent me here. Since that, of course, is belief, not necessarily knowledge, in all fairness (if I’m really truthful) I will have to change “this much I know” to “this much I believe.” So, for the time being I must leave God out of it unless he makes his presence truly known, and save the knowing for later.

But I must begin somewhere. There must be some things I know! My first memories! They’ve been with me always, have never changed, and therefore must be true. I am running down a steep hillside, being chased by a goat. Running, running towards a wire fence at the foot of the hill. I climb the fence as fast as I can. The skin of my knee is caught on a barb from the barbed wire strung along the top of the fence and is torn open. Blood pours out, the pain is awful, but I land on the other side of the fence and leave the goat glaring at me through the wires. Although the memory ends there, part of the scar remains, after all these years. The scar tells me that yes, this really happened. If I were to say I went home and that my mother or sister or brother cleaned the cut and wrapped it, I would be speculating as I have no memory of what happened later. It is possible I washed the cut myself and it quit bleeding and I told nobody. I can only say what I know to be true.

When the rooster flogged me I couldn’t have been more than four. I was walking up the path to the front porch where my mother and grandmother sat on chairs facing me. The rooster had landed on my head and I know I screamed but I don’t remember what happened later. My sister tells a story about my baby brother being flogged by a rooster and how they killed the rooster and cooked it and Hale took a big rooster leg and said “rooster bite me, now I bite him.” Would they have laughed if I’d said that? Or did they bother to cook the mean old rooster who flogged me? I don’t think so.

Chased by a goat and flogged by a rooster.  Strange first memories. Perhaps they feed my feelings that somehow I landed on the wrong planet. Was there somewhere else I could’ve gone? Did I have a choice? I’ll have to leave those questions to ponder later, the next time I walk Winston.

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3 Responses

  1. […] I’ve put a link to this article here […]

  2. I too was flogged by a rooster, several times, at about age 7. He was not killed until he flogged my toddler brother, spurring him near the eye. Dad then took care of the attacker. Whether we ate him or not, I do not remember.
    This did not alter my love of chickens, however, and now in my faded rose years, I would be so happy to have a hen and chicks and a rooster. But in coyote country in the San Bernardino mtns, protecting and sheltering them would be a fulltime job!
    How I love your stories. Going to try to get your book ASAP.
    Thank you again!!!

  3. It’s so wonderful to hear from you! Those first memories MUST have some meaning, right? What’s so funny is we both had a younger brother for whom our folks exacted retribution by killing the rooster. Hmmmm. No, it wasn’t because– as one of my brothers told my sister when they were kids– “boys are more important than girls” – that had nothing to do with it. But, just perhaps, a little seed of doubt was planted in our minds. Resolved, of course, when we grew up and realized that if it weren’t for the girls, none of the boys would be here:))

    Although I understand why you miss being able to have a family of chickens, I’m imagining how beautiful the San Bernardino mtns must be. It’s too bad that one way of life must preclude another. My mind is busy erecting impregnable fences for you.

    I’m so glad you like my stories, and hope you’ll enjoy my book. You may have noticed I haven’t posted on my blog for awhile, but you’ve inspired me to get back to it and catch up. Thank you!

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