I was a happy-go-lucky 10-year old boy eating breakfast one morning when my mother said, “I think you[re old enough now to…….” I interrupted her at that point by choking on my oatmeal.

I’d heard that ominous phrase before. “I think you’re old enough now” was always the preamble of an announcement that wasn’t going to make my life more carefree or exciting. . Mom wasn’t going to say I could now have a BB gun or a motor scooter or that I could quit school and join the circus. No, another burdensome item was going to be added to my list of chores.

Sure enough, I was told I’d reached an age when I should be capable of making my own bed.. That might sound trivial, but it was a ten-year sentence with no possibility of parole.. From then on I had to get up 15 minutes earlier every day to begin wrestling with blankets and pillows and chasing wrinkles over uncooperative chenille bedspreads. Rats!

Just a week earlier my father had decided I’d reached another important milestone and should be responsible enough to trim the lawn with our balky boy-powered reel mower. Rats!

I would have liked working with our chainsaw or even the hacksaw, but Dad never let me handle anything sharper than that rusty old mower. I’d swapped my Tom Mix autographed holster for a neat penknife with one and a half surviving blades and a bottle opener. When I proudly showed it to Dad he said, “Oh, thanks, just what I needed., a one and a half-bladed penknife with a bottle opener. ” That was supposed to have been my hunting knife. Now I had to go on safari in the local Fairview woods with an old butter knife. Rats!

Part of my problem was my unsynchronized growth. My hands and feet were growing much faster than my other parts resulting in my reputation for clumsiness. This wasn’t all bad. I wasn’t allowed to wash dishes or handle anything breakable and expensive, like storm windows. I thought I’d grow out of it, but Dad wasn’t sure. He made me promise never to work at Picatinny Arsenal/

Anyway, I managed to enjoy a happy, normal life and I was thinking about that at breakfast the other day when my wife said, “You’re getting too old now to…..” I interrupted her by choking on my prune juice. Now I have to get rid of my BB gun. Rats!


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