And in the same spirit of telling my teenaged daughters' secrets to the internet, I have a story about the younger one...
She competes in track and field at the local high school (and yes, still does basketball on the weekends and now driver's ed, as well). She's a busy kid. But this story is about track and about how things are with some of the kids here in our small town in Maine.
I should start by saying, five years ago, when we were homeschooling our son, he competed in track at the same high school. The school is surrounded by acres and acres of woods with wonderful trails, where much of the running practice takes place. Often, the head coach will send out groups of students to run for 30-45 minutes on the trails.
When my son was competing at the school, he and a group of about eight guys would run into the woods and they always managed to find mischief, as teenaged boys will often do. My son loved to come home from track practice and tell me about all these adventures. I'm not sure if that was a blessing or a curse.
One time the group decided to check out an old forest ranger tower. It was about 50 feet high, just peeking above the trees at the top of a hill. Apparently, as one of the boys climbed up, he discovered a hornet's nest near the top. After carefully climbing back down, the boys decided they couldn't leave a perfectly good hornet's nest alone.
Somebody decided to climb all the way up with a stick and knock down the nest. Amazingly, he was successful. The nest fell to the ground below, and the brave/stupid climber climbed down. The boys gathered around to survey the damage. The nest seemed deserted, so they did what anyone else would NEVER do - they started kicking it around.
Without warning, hornets began emerging from the nest and the boys decided it was time to run (see, they weren't COMPLETELY stupid). First they had to scuttle under a barbed wire fence, and then they ran. They ran FAST. They passed a big group of girls in the woods as they ran, and just screamed unintelligibly for them to get out of there. The girls followed them in a panic, and said later that they thought the boys had run into an angry bear or moose.
Then there was the time they ran all the way to a local construction site and decided to test-drive a tractor. They all ran back into the woods when one of the construction workers came to investigate.
And of course there was the nearby sinkhole where they all liked to go swimming (after jumping off the 20-foot cliff). Oh God, the grey hairs that popped out of my head during those years as my son came home with story after story.
So yesterday, youngest daughter came home and declared that some of the boys on the track team had killed a turkey in the woods. She wasn't there and she's suspicious about possible embellishment, but apparently a group of boys came back from their run with panicked looks, nervous laughs and blood on their hands. Literally. They walked right up to the head coach and admitted that they'd tried to catch a turkey and inadvertently killed it. As an aside, have you seen the big claws on turkeys? They can be quite vicious and dangerous. Seems the blood was more from the boys than the turkey. Yeah, I would think so.
I was sad to think the boys killed a turkey, but when I stopped to think about it, it made me smile. Not the death of the poor bird, but the utter wholesomeness of it all. When I think of the things those boys COULD have been doing out in the woods - drugs, drinking, vandalism, bullying, hazing, or even just chasing girls or smoking. Instead, they were just being boys - in an old fashioned or bygone era sort of way. I like that.
I also have to say that this time around, I'm glad I have a girl. Sometimes it's just easier that way.
Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes