The ball she rescued from the wet, muddy park (and her wet, not-so-muddy pawprint on our floor)
On our way out of the park today, Juliette decided she wanted to take along the tennis ball she’d found. Then she got a bit distracted by someone’s discarded sandwich. Then she picked the ball up again. Then she dropped it again. I thought I’d give her a hand, so to speak, and started kicking the ball along in front of us. Eventually, she picked it up again and carted it all the way home. This insignificant moment triggered a memory from my childhood. One I’ll share with you now.
It was 5th grade, I believe. I had to walk about a mile to get to the bus stop. In the snow. (Not uphill, mind you. No, the uphill part was on the way home.) I was walking along our street when I encountered a big chunk of frozen snow. I kicked at it with my boot with enough oomph that it slid a few feet across the icy road. I kicked it again. It went a few more feet. At some point, I challenged myself to see how far and how long I could kick this chunk of snow.
I’m pretty persistent. Or at least I was. I kicked it all the way down the street, around the corner, down the hill, around another corner, into the parking lot at the apartment complex where the bus stopped and all the way to the end where the other kids were standing.
I can’t recall how I explained myself. Somehow no one heckled me about this strange little event. Must not have seemed too bad at the time. When the bus pulled up, though, I think I became one of those he-eats-erasers or she-picks-her-nose kids, because I decided to take the chunk of snow with me. Onto the bus. Yep. On board.
Again, no one must have said anything too bad. I’m a sensitive girl. Always have been. If I’d been ridiculed mercilessly, I’d have dropped the game right there. Instead, I rode with the chunk of snow (let’s call it “Chunk” from now on) under my seat all the way to Lincoln Elementary School.
What now? Well, disembark with Chunk, of course. And then hide Chunk behind the trash bin on the side of the school. Makes perfect sense.
A full day of Mrs. Prince’s class commenced, including recess, during which I surprisingly did NOT go check on Chunk.
But when the bell rang for dismissal, I was right over there at the trash bin, fetching my new friend. Really. Honestly. I lugged Chunk back onto the bus with me, back to the bus stop, and back off into the parking lot.
And then I kicked Chunk all the way back home.
Once home, I gently lodged Chunk underneath our deck, safe and sound for the rest of winter where I no doubt checked on it from time to time. My mom didn’t say anything negative, but how can you not wonder about an 11-year-old girl who kicks a chunk of snow to school, takes it on the bus, brings it back, kicks it home (uphill) and saves it under your deck?
I may have cried a few tears in the spring when Chunk melted. It was very sad, I’m sure.
Now there’s a little window into my psyche that you may wish had never been opened. But it’s the honest truth. And I’m not embarrassed about it at all. So there!