Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Sacking of Elm Street

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but it was between the ages of 5 and 10 years, and I lived on Fleetwood street in Longview, Texas.  I had two neighbors both names Mike.  There was "Big Mike" who was at least a year or two older than me, and "Little Mike" who was I think a year or so younger than me.  This story involves "Big Mike" (with whom I have long since lost contact, but given that I blame all of my own delinquency during those years of my life on him, I have no doubt he went on to have a long life of crime and mischief.)

It was one of those long days of summer and we had nothing important to do, so Mike and I went walking up the street to Elm Street where they were building a new home that they were in the habit of leaving unlocked.  We sauntered in and, enjoying the new sheetrock smell, proceeded to play some before Mike got the idea to open up the cans of paint and dump them on the floor.  Sounded like fun to me and, grabbing a screwdriver left discarded on the floor, we proceeded to open up each and every can of paint in the garage.  Having them open we knocked them over and I think we splashed paint on the walls as well.  Getting a little bored I looked outside and saw a garden hose attached to a faucet.  Curious I turned the faucet on and what did I know, but the water was on!  Well, we thought we'd spray down the room with water (which I hear is good for sheetrock.)  So I'm spraying away, standing outside the back door, and some movement to my right catches my eye.  It was the next door neighbor, Mr Lawson.  I grinned, waved, and got back to spraying the garage down.  For some odd reason when he got to me he seemed agitated, took the hose from me, and sent Mike and me home to our respective parents.

On my way home he called my father and I think he called Mike father as well.  Somehow my mother seemed aware of my activities as well as I was sent straight to my room to wait for my father to get home.  It would be a while as he, Mr Lawson, and (maybe?) Mike's father were over at the house cleaning up the mess I made.  Of course I was told what was going on, and that my dad was cleaning up after me and would be home to discuss it once he had a few hours working to stew over it.  He spent a long time cleaning it up, and I (rightly) got my ... behavior properly modified.

It's kinda odd looking back on things - it's hard for me to comprehend destroying someone's property with no regard for either their damage or the cost to correct the damage.  I am so grateful to my parents for teaching me not only proper behavior, but the reasons why behavior is right or wrong, and helping me to see a little deeper past my actions and towards their effects.

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