I was really a good child.
I just feel the need to state that before I share with you the following, inspired by a post by Freckled Hen.
The year was 1993. At least I think it was 1993. I'm pretty sure it was, because I recall my sister Paula being at my house and I think that was the summer she stayed with my parents before she ran off to Vegas to get married.
Clearly she was a good child too...
So. It was probably 1993. I was 17 years old. It was summer and I was going into my senior year of high school, which I was pretty sure made me the next thing down from Queen of the Universe.
We had recently had rain.
That is relevant. I promise.
I don't know why I was going to town this particular summer night. It might have been to go drag main, or hang out with my then boyfriend who always treated me like doo doo, but I was still going to change him and make him love me by allowing him to treat me bad...You know. Classic teenage stupidity. Only I knew what I was doing. Just ask anyone.
This post is having entirely too many rabbit chases...
As I was leaving, my mom reviewed my curfew rules, and told me "Do not go to the river."
Why did she tell me not go to the river? I had never gone to the river in my life. Unless of course one counts the previous May when all of my senior friends were graduating and my friend Sabra and I crashed their party on graduation night. I had planned a "sleepover" at Sabra's. However, we were going to the party, and THEN to her house. Her mom didn't believe in curfews as she did not want Sabra to have a wreck trying to get home before curfew...
I have no idea why she thought kids might drive fast trying to get home for curfew. After all, I certainly never drag raced my mom's Ford Taurus as I was leaving town.
Every single Saturday.
Like clockwork, 11:43 would roll around. I was supposed to be home by midnight, and considering I lived 26 miles from town, I had to leave by 11:30 if I was going to drive the "55 stay alive" speed limit. However, I could never get all of my socializing done in the allotted time frame.
So I sped.
Just a teeny bit.
I would say, "Oh no! I gotta go or I'm gonna miss curfew." And I would dash through the Jack & Jill parking lot, leap into my car and drive the exact speed limit as I was leaving town. I wouldn't want to get a ticket after all!
As I would leave town and pass the transport road, a group of boys in a pickup would pull up on my rear bumper and flash their lights at me. The boys varied from week to week, but every week I would slow down to oblige them in pulling along side me, ostensibly to let them pass. Then I would PUNCH IT! Did you know that a 1992 Ford Taurus has a governor that tops out at 135 miles per hour? Did you know that the boys who drove old 1970s model pickups had no such governor holding them back? They eventually beat me every time. And they nearly always had a spare boy to moon me out the back window as they blew by me.
Curse that governor.
Okay. That was a big bunny chase. We were talking about what a great kid I was. And that my mom had told me not go to the river.
I pulled into town. I remember it was late afternoon. I have no idea why I was in town in the late afternoon. I do know that I met up with a group of random kids in the high school parking lot. They were all "friends" but most of them were only friends in the sense that all kids in a town with 1200 people and one stop light are friends.
"Hey Ang! (for some reason my classmates called me Ang, or AJ.) Want to go to the river? We're going floating!"
I thought about it for all of two seconds, and I jumped into Jason's pickup and off we went! We parked the cars on the side of the road, pulled out a bunch of blow up floats and hiked our way down to the river. I, of course was looking super cute and had on my nice leather loafers. I carefully tucked my socks into them, shrugged at the soon to be river smelly state of my cute outfit and climbed onto a pink lounge float.
And off we floated!
I don't remember how far we went. I do remember that getting back was a challenge as we did not have shoes. We walked in the sandy river bottom as far as we could, but some places it was too deep to walk, or too rocky, or whatever. Then we would get out and hike along in the reedy grass along the bank.
I hung out in town for a few hours until I was dry enough to get into my mom's nice Taurus and drive home. I remember it wasn't even dark out when I walked in, called "Hi! I'm home!" and headed straight to the bathroom, skillfully avoiding any direct conversation with the parents...
And there was Paula. I immediately began to tug off my clothes and prepared to get in the shower. Naturally, I told her what we had done. Because I am a terrible secret keeper, and she was handy. I told her the worst part was that the crotch of my underwear never did get dry...
I don't remember what she said.
But I'm sure it involved carefully chosen words of wisdom and some eye rolls. Paula always was better at keeping her counsel than I am.
I do remember that the reason we wanted to float the river was because it was actually moving. You see, we had received a heavy rain. I'm not sure if this is the right year, but I think it's the year that we had such heavy rains that I spent a good chunk of the summer helping Dad rebuild fence at all of the creek gaps.
So, we decided to float...Of course, what looks like calm little currents could have been deadly undertows. I know that for a fact as two boys in our area had been floating a similar river in a similar situation and drowned just two years before. Of course, none of that crossed my mind as a teenager. However, I guess Mom must have raised three teenagers or been one herself, because she was suspicious that we may decide to go visit the river after a heavy rain.
Oh, and about the senior graduation party that Sabra and I crashed? Well, it turns out that Dad decided we needed to gather and work cattle first thing the next morning. They called Sabra's mom to tell me to come home. This was before the days of cell phones, so Sabra's mom got in her car and drove up and down Main looking for us.
Only we weren't there.
Then, she drove her car to the bridge over the river and honked her horn and yelled and yelled for us. Only we could not hear her as we were quite a ways down the river, and we had country music blasting from some guy's pickup. She eventually convinced a kid named Eric to pull over and told him to come get me.
Eric was a prankster and came roaring into the camp saying, "Hey Andrea, your dad's looking for you."
I nearly had a heart attack right then and there. After he picked himself up off the ground from laughing at me, he told me the truth. Sabra and I loaded up in her car and headed back to town. When we walked into her house her mom started talking, "Where have you been? I've been looking all over for you two. I parked on the bridge and honked and yelled and you never came. Andrea's dad said she has to go home to work cattle. Ohmygoodness you smell like camp fire. Go take a shower before you head home and wash your hair."
And so I did and she nearly had a stroke before I left.
And I came home and went to bed and got up at the crack of dawn to gather and work cattle.
Maybe my parents were more clued in to my activities than I thought.
Oh, and one more thing. I got the "Safe Driver" award my Senior year of high school. I was nominated by Mrs. Mulberry because every time she saw me driving I ALWAYS had on a seat belt. Of course that is totally true! I didn't want to die a horrendous bloody death if I had an accident driving!
This post is entirely too long. I will test whether you made it to the end with a brief Reader Survey:
What kind of kid were you? Were you like me, really good on the surface with a streak of orneriness a mile wide? Were you straight as an arrow with a secretly rebellious heart? Or were you out and out wild and woolly? Do tell!