Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smell Like Poop (formerly This Ancient Thread; Strand 2)

When I say I grew up on a farm, I always add that it was only for 5 years. I say this just to clarify that I didn't spend my entire childhood on a farm. However, it was a significant time because up to that point of my life I hadn't lived anywhere more than a couple years; my dad built and rebuilt power plants, and you don't keep building power plants in the same town for too long. The work moves on, and so my family did. That all changed when we moved to the farm in Pike township. From that point on, my dad would do the moving and we would stay put. How would that work out?
Our driveway made a large loop around the corn crib: on the southeast side sat our stone farmhouse, and on the west side sat the great barn from the 1780's. To get to our bus stop, you would have to round the loop and then pass the north side of the barn. South of the barn was the barnyard, and dusty and musty though a shorter distance, we were instructed to instead keep to the driveway.
I once went to school with sheep shit on my clothes; there I was sitting in class, and I guess the kids sitting next to me starting to smell something. I started to smell something. But you know, I didn't really think it was me, just sort of smelled a bad shit smell. What could I have done to get sheep shit on my clothes? I did cut through the barnyard to save time walking to the bus stop. I did climb the fences to get into and out of the barnyard. And though I didn't realize it was me until after I sat alone in the nurses suite in a back room near the washer and dryer, somehow, surely I must have wiped my body up against some sheep shit.
Lucky for me the school had an extra set of gray sweat clothes. It didn't look very cool, but it was better than smelling like poop. Looking back, I am glad I was only in 5th grade; not yet old enough to care or to feel the sting of estrangement.

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