It was a beautiful fall day…the very first part of October. The mountains were a blaze of color in any direction one looked. It was the era of the Fabulous Fifties. I was in high school. and the world was just one fabulous place to be and mine for the taking. Maybe that will explain why, after 65 years I still vividly recall one of the moments when my head was in the glorious clouds and nowhere was I on earth! I tried to remember this moment when my own teenage daughter did something so in-explainable, it defied words.
But I digress. It was early one Saturday morning and Ma decided she should visit her parents on Rowe Hill. There was nothing I would rather do that see my Grandfather and Grandmother Libby. Their little house set off on a road from Rowe Hill and Grampa built the house himself in 1905. Ma was born there in 1915, so it was just a place that I, being a loner and nature lover, loved to just walk around outside and explore while she was inside.
This particular day, I wandered to the hen house on the knoll and proceeded to take count of the chickens. Bored with that, I rounded the house and spied Grampa’s apple tree. Now you remember, my Grandfather Martin was highly particular who touched his apple tree. Not so Grampa Libby. There the tree stood with red apples everywhere..on every limb it seemed. I spotted one that I knew would be the apple of all apples and Grandpa wouldn’t care if I picked it.
Ah! But there was just one problem. I was about 5’6″ tall and this particular apple was about 6″ up in the air. No problem, I thought, as I looked around for something to nudge it off the limb. No sticks anywhere. Ah, but there’s a rock . I can throw a baseball and hit most anything. There’s no reason why I can’t knock that apple off the tree. Such went the thoughts through my head and out both ears, obviously. Rock in hand, I gave a mighty throw..I would have called it a strike right over the plate.
The sound of shattering glass echoed through the valley and I stood dumbfounded. I was so intent on getting the shiny prize of an apple I never looked beyond. I had broken one of my Grandparents’ windows.
Ma blew around the corner as if shot from a cannon and demanded what on earth was going on. There was no explanation. I was just as dumbfounded as she was and there was no way she could even begin to explain her daughter’s behavior. I was sick with shame.
She marched me into the house to face my Grandfather. He smiled and said, “These things happen” which made me feel even worse. I tried to tell him how sorry I was with Ma interjecting( and correctly so) that I was old enough to know better.
In the end, all was ironed out. Ma got Grampa a new window pane and it was put in a couple days later, but the shame of that moment has never left me. It would have felt better, I think, if Grampa had been angry!!
A lesson learned. When your eye is on a prize you think you can’t live without, take a moment to look beyond and see how your getting it might affect others. I didn’t for that two second moment back in 1953 and it still smarts!