He Mused to Himself
Sitting on the sofa, by the window…reminiscing. Somehow the conversation turned to kids today and he comments (as much to himself as to anyone in the room) that as soon as the sun was up, he was dressed and outside and his mother didn’t see him till the sun was going down. He recollects, how nice that she didn’t have to worry about him getting abducted, molested or some other fear mothers of today possess. (Nowadays, we rarely let the kids even play in the front yard without supervision.)
I never tire of hearing “The Indian-Way-Of Cooking-a-Chicken” story.
When he was a lad, he and his pals would get up early and head for the hills. This was quite a hike out of town. They made one stealth stop on their way to the mountain, a neighbor’s chicken coop.
Once they arrived at their chosen location, up in the mountains, the first thing they would do is to dig a fire pit and get a good fire going. They would then kill the chicken by chopping it’s head off and smear the carcass all over with thick mud. After it was completely covered in this layer of mud, they would put it in the fire pit and cover it in coals and leave it to cook while they went off and played like they were wild Indians up in the mountains.
Upon returning, they would fork the cooked chicken out of the coals and crack the hardened mud off of it. The feathers and skin would all come off with the mud they were stuck to. (This was the punch line of this particular story, how easy it was for our first Native Americans to pluck a chicken.) They’d eat the meat, picking around the gut area.
He is a natural story-teller, weaving lots of intricate details into these tales. As a listener, you feel you are right there, reliving those experiences with him. I could see myself whooping and hollering, running wild and free through the hills and forests with that pure freedom only kids with no adult supervision or intervention can experience.
Imagination turned loose.
They weren’t bad boys. Just good chums up in the hills playing Indian. I guess if the worst thing they ever did was to steal a chicken or two in the follies of youth, they will still pass through those pearly gates.
The days of his youth are not far away. They live on, in his stories and in him, embedded into the very marrow of bone and tissue that make him who he is. They live because he lives.
A living testament to the makings of free-range child, deep-rooted into this sure and steady man.