Thursday, October 31, 2019

Paul Richardson: Never mind the rose bush

I don’t know if all teenagers develop plans for escaping from the parents’ home during the hours after bedtime. At least some of the teenagers that have lived in my house did.

The classic television version is kids climbing out windows, down trellis’, landing in the flowers surrounding the idyllic home, followed by them scrambling through the rose bushes.

That was never a problem that I had to deal with. Primarily for the reason that I was quite introverted during my years prior to leaving home. In fact, an old schoolmate of mine, a girl that I had quite the crush on my freshman year, was a vendor at the fall festival a few years back. She wanted to introduce me to her husband as I was making my rounds through the festival on my motorcycle. 

After the introduction, he noted that he had heard a lot about me. Still hoping for validation of those freshman year daydreams, I had to know the general context at the very least. 

Following her stringent objections and my persistent assurance that I would be fine with whatever had been said, he finally stated, “She said that in high school you were somewhat of a nerd. I don’t find that to be an accurate description of you at all.” I assured him that her description was highly accurate and let the subject drop as she was scrambling through the rose bushes.

My teenage years were only marked by a couple late arrivals and by late I am not referring to a few minutes or even increments that can be measured in quarter hour intervals in order to flesh out the discussion; no. my late arrivals were in multiple hour increments. These happened late in my high school years, so their impact was minimal.

While I never fully developed a plan for escaping the house, I did have a couple in the works. 

One of my bedroom windows opened onto the back-porch roof, giving me easy access to the outside. That was as far as my plan got as jumping off that roof seemed filled with potential problems. 

I was to find out that living in a small town, not only did you have to escape the house, you also had to slip out of town. I validated this truth when during my college years, my parents and sister went on a two-week vacation. 

It turned out there were multiple people keeping track of my comings and goings. These observers seemed well trained in a manner that indicated this had been a long term and developed plan.

While slipping out of town was problematic, slipping into town deemed complex as the cars that I drove were unique and the only ones in the community. My dear mother had her own way of knowing when I was arriving as she would lay awake until my headlights swept across the house as I made my way home. At least I wasn’t scrambling through the rose bushes.

(Paul Richardson's column, The Horse I Rode On In, is published weekly in the Neosho Daily News, the Seneca News-Dispatch and on the Turner Report.)

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