Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cottonwood Ammunition and a Kool-Aid Parachute

My sister Pauline--now called Paula--came after me and before Beverly in the birth order. The three of us shared a bedroom. Beverly and I slept in a double bed and Paula slept in the day bed. Unlike the rest of us, Paula was a petite little thing. Papaw nicknamed her PeeWee.

Papaw had nicknames for all of us, Felita was Long-legs, Mary was Lazy, Beverly was Moo-moo and I was Dumplings. Most of those need no explanation--I was Dumplings because he thought I just might love Mother's chicken-and-dumplings more than he did. [To this day it's my favorite Momma-dish.] Beverly was called Moo-moo because she used to stand by the fence row mocking the cows.

That little whip of a Paula had a set of lungs on her, knew it and used 'em. When she decided to cry out, that screech could be heard by anyone remotely nearby. She was also fast as lightning. You couldn't out run her, you had to figure a way to dodge her. For some reason, Beverly and I aggravated her a lot.

Paula had saved enough of those Kool-Aid Man squares from the Kool-Aid packets to send in for a prize. The prize finally arrived--an orange plastic pup-tent, complete with a blue Kool-Aid Man on the side, plastic tent pegs and nylon twine. She staked out her territory just back of the house, beyond the old cottonwood tree and proceeded to set up camp. Beverly and I wanted to help; we wanted to play in the tent too. Paula wouldn't have it. That tent was hers and hers alone.

Daddy had been working on the roof that day, needed something for the job, so he and Mother had gone to town. Beverly and I climbed that extension ladder and sat on the roof while watching Paula and planning our attack. Once she was inside the tent, down the ladder we went, sneaked round the corner, pulled a couple of green seed bunches from that cottonwood tree and began unloading on Kool-Aid Man. Paula commenced a screeching and we took off, ran round the house and unloaded another bunch. Before we could get around a second time Felita came out of the house and stopped us in our tracks.

Shortly, Beverly and I sneaked back around and found the tent empty. Paula was no where in sight. We had the tent down in a flash, grabbed a 32 oz. glass Coke bottle and scurried back up the ladder. We tied the twine around the mouth of the coke bottle. Beverly had the bottle suspended just clear of the roof’s edge as I was arranging the tent-turned-parachute to catch air upon release. All of a sudden we heard Paula scream, she came round the corner and headed straight for the ladder. I told Beverly to let go--release! She did. Our parachute didn't open, that bottle went straight down, Paula started screeching and blood started flowing.

Felita ran out and grabbed Paula up while blessing Beverly and me in a not-so-blessed way. I don't remember what happened when Mother and Daddy got home--maybe I blocked it all out. Beverly and I never talked about engineering parachutes again.

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