Friday, July 04, 2008

The Pitchfork


unnamed and unsigned,
in the manner of John Constable,
o/c, 19th century.


It wasn't a pitchfork, actually. It was a hay fork. And I stabbed my brother with it.

As well as building bridges, my father ran a small farm, with half a dozen cows and a team of horses. The farm had a great old barn with central doors for the hay wagons and hay mows above the stables.

We posessed the usual complement of cats, one of which preferred to deliver her litter in a rustling hay nest above the second girt rather than in the middle of my mother's bed.

Each day I liked to climb the ladder, sit in the sweet slanted dust of timothy and clover, commune with mother cat and admire the latest younglings.

My older brother thought it was a great idea to make monster, to stealthy climb up the ladder behind me and suddenly lunge and roar over the lip of the mow -- scare me out of my seven year old bloomers -- and disappear. Giggling. While I bawled.

So one day in determination I picked up the hay fork and held it ready. One the tines caught him in the exact center of his forehead. A nice, round, red hole.

Of course, he went -- in the local expression -- ti-yiing to the house and my mother.

My chubby knees were very shaky climbing down out of the mow. I had done an absolutely verboten thing. Expecting some great and unimaginable punishment I surrendered myself.

I don't remember even being scolded.

And no semi-monsters interrupted further visits to kit and kittens.


Happy Independence Day.



43 comments:

December/Stacia said...

Lol! Great story. You must have been an adorable child.

laughingwolf said...

i'd've done the same, bernita... as luck would have it, he retained his eyes, and life... thankfully

happy id to you as well :)

Bernita said...

December, I think I was - just a child.

Yes, Laughingwolf, the potential consequences are horrifying.
As I remember I warned him I would do that. He chose not to believe me.

spyscribbler said...

ROFL! That's great. I had a student who chased my cat around the house. I mean, CHASED, terrifying it, while I was teaching his brother.

That was when I was a new teacher, and I loved kids and couldn't imagine how any teacher could ever be impatient or yell at a kid. God, what happened to me?

Bernita said...

Little bastard, Natasha.

jason evans said...

I would never sneak up behind you and scare you.

Never.

(I value my life.)

Ric said...

Wonderful story. Thank goodness he wasn't hurt too badly.
Pitchforks make useful weapons. Any old horror movie always brings them out in the hands of villagers.

Bernita said...

Hee, Jason.
Decided I couldn't/wouldn't take it anymore.

Poor man's pike, Ric.
He was hardly hurt at all.

raine said...

Good for you, Bernita, lol.
I have no doubt that mother cat was also secretly pleased. ;)

Some of us must learn the hard way.

BernardL said...

Gulp... :)

Gabriele C. said...

Your parents believed in the right of self defense. :)

A farm is such a great place to grow up. No wonder you're able to coax porcupines out of cellars.

Charles Gramlich said...

He got exactly what he deserved.

Bernita said...

Raine, he never tried that trick on me again.

Now,Bernard...

They understood he'd brought it on himself, Gabriele.
It was, though porcupine herding is not a skill needed very often!

Bernita said...

A salutary lesson, I believe it's called, Charles!

writtenwyrdd said...

Great tale, Bernita. That would make the basis of a great story, too. Only you could make it a real monster, heh heh.

Billy said...

Happy 4th, Bernita. There's an award waiting for you on my blog.

StarvingWriteNow said...

WOW! Nice shot!

My brother cut my hand open once with a pocket knife--we glued it together with rubber cement and my mother never found out.

I know, I know... but it was a fine suture material; you can barely see the scar!

I grew up on an apple farm, btw. Despite the hard work and lean times, I can't imagine a better childhood.

Bernita said...

Billy!
How charming of you. Thank you!

Clever.Today I suppose we'd use superglue, Beth.
Many of my memories involve sunshine.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Written.
Except for the time I broke the school house window throwing rocks,about my only brush with criminality.

Scott from Oregon said...

I knew a girl in a similar situation who put a ballpeen hammer through her brothers skull...

Yes. He left her alone after that.

Something about sticking his head into her room and yelling boo! started it all.

Bernita said...

One uses what's available, I suppose, Scott...

SzélsőFa said...

I read it as a great story with excellent opening lines. Imagine my astonishment when the comments made me realize that this actually happened. A peaceful kid adoring kittens in one minute, a warrior the next.
(some serial killers must have similar childhood stories:))
- Just kidding!!!)

Happy 4th of July!

Steve Malley said...

Fantastic!!!!

Bernita said...

One of the primary characteristics of serial killers, Szelsofa, is that they often have a history of torturing animals.
~she said dryly~

Bernita said...

No, Steve, really happened.

Barbara Martin said...

Brothers need to be taught their lessons when picking on little sisters, and you performed the task admirably.

In the end, both of you learned a valuable lesson.

SzélsőFa said...

I knew about that and I was worried about your reaction, Bernita.
Sorry, I was just meant to be funny. Not all my attempts succeed.

laughingwolf said...

i annoyed my sis, can't recall what about, one time, eons ago

she threw scissors at me, points struck the bone just below the jugular... she thought she'd killed me, from the blood flow....

Bernita said...

A very pointed one, Barbara.

I'm only violent under specific and limited circumstances, Szelsofa.

Laughingwolf, you're as lucky as my brother!

laughingwolf said...

brotherly luck, if not love? ;)

SzélsőFa said...

It's one of the problems of cyber-communication: one can not get instant feedback, and one can talk too much (that was me).
I'm sorry!!

Bernita said...

Certainly luck, Lw!

No problem, Szelsofa. Be calm. I understand.

Sam said...

My brother swears I tried to kill him when he was little - but I don't remember that at all, and he has no details. I think he's making it up. He was horribly accident-prone - always being rushed to the hospital for stitches - and maybe one of his accident memories got mixed up with a fight we had.
Having a perfect memory myself *cough cough* I can't imagine how he got so confused.

Bernita said...

Sounds like he's working on his "guilt trip" techniques, Sam.

laughingwolf said...

indeed so, bernita ;)

Lana Gramlich said...

Wow...How unnerving!

Whirlochre said...

Locks and keys, brothers and pitchforks...

Bernita said...

Especially since my child's immagination made the sudden monster momentarily real, Lana.

Partially opened his "third eye," Whirl.

ChrisEldin said...

This somehow makes me feel better about my own children.

Thanks!
;-)

Bernita said...

Oh dear -"imagination"

Chris, never doubt that they are perfectly normal.

freddie said...

Hah, ROFL! Reminds me of the time my brother was teasing me and I kicked him in the privates. After he picked himself up off the floor, he went downstairs to my parents and complained. They shrugged and said he should have left me alone. He stopped teasing me after that.

Bernita said...

HA, Freddie!
Seems your parents thought like mine.

Shauna Roberts said...

Great story, Bernita! Reminds me of a time when my sister tormented our younger brothers incessantly with pinches and slaps, and they withstood it stoically because they were forbidden to fight with girls. Then one day, while my sister was washing her hair in the kitchen sink while wearing a bikini, one of my brothers passed by and saw his chance. He pulled down her bikini bottom. She yelled bloody murder and pitched a fit. Like you, my brother received no punishment, the act being such a creative way to teach her a lesson without breaking the house rules.