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.