Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Responsibility



This was shot recently from Gwynn's Island. That red ball reminds me of a hoppity hop I had when I was a kid. Was it hoppity hop or hippity hop? It was a rubber ball akin to today's exercise balls, only there was a handle you grasped while you bounced yourself silly. For me, that didn't take long since I was already halfway silly to begin with.
----------------------------

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, (and if I were capable of linking to these references, I would) I seem to have been put in a position of enormous responsibility at a very young age.

Let's take a gander at some of what I was expected to do, shall we?

- Feed, water, groom, hoof-pick, horse-fly spray and ride a pony that was the most stubborn animal this side of a mule.

- Feed, water, groom, hoof-pick, horse-fly spray, babysit, teach and entertain two younger sisters, almost as stubborn as aforementioned pony and/or mule.

- By the way, I was only about 10 years old when given all this responsibility.

- Tend to 2 younger siblings while fretting that parents were capsized on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay when said parents left me in charge of said siblings for an entire day, well into the evening, when a storm was a-brewin'.

About that last one.

My father bought into the CB radio fad back in the 1970's. His handle was Drumsticks, which was cool because he played in a band. Our call-numbers (I'm totally making this term up, I have no idea what the terminology is, but it is whatever letter/number combination we used to identify ourselves on the CB) was KG-0-23-45. He had a CB in the boat, a CB in his van, and a CB for the home. We were not lacking for communication devices.

One day, when I was probably 4, I was put in charge of my younger sisters while my parents went fishing. OK, I wasn't 4, but I was way too young for tending to small children by myself while the parents were on a boat trip otherwise known as "Why catch fish off your own dock when you can make yourself green in the gills by driving across 15 miles of the choppiest, windiest, most sea-sickness-inducing water known to man? And leave your oldest daughter in charge of everything and everyone?"

The parents were gone a long time, a little too long, and it was coming close to supper time. In addition to the grumblings going on in Chesapeake Bay Girl's stomach, there was a grumbling going on in the sky. A storm was fast approaching, and there were no parents anywhere in sight.

Chesapeake Bay Girl, being the responsible 4-year-old, OK 10-year-old, decided to take matters into her own hands. She turned on the CB radio that was in the den. She waited for a pause in whatever mumbling, rambling, nonsensical garbage was coming across the airwaves. And oh, those men could talk some trash.

At just the right opportunity, she very bravely pushed the button on the mike (Is that what it was called? I have no idea) and said, "This is KG02341, Base to Boat/Whatever (I can't remember what we called the boat), come in, do you read me?" Silence. Then I repeated, "KG02341, it's looking stormy and we want to know your 10-20." Silence. "This is KG02341, Base to Boat (or whatever). Do you copy me?"

This time I got an answer. It was some drunken idiot probably two doors down. As if I wouldn't recognize my own parents' voice he said, "Yeah, darlin', I read ya loud and clear. We're fine as can be."

Let's recap the whole situation, shall we?

1. Chesapeake Bay Girl is babysitting her two younger sisters while trying to locate her parents who could be lost at sea as the Storm of the Century brews overhead.

2. Chesapeake Bay Girl, who normally can't say two words to anyone outside of her family because she lived such a sheltered life and was painfully, excruciatingly shy, had to pick up a microphone (or whatever the darn thing was called) and broadcast over the airwaves known as Drunken Bubba's Network, that she was concerned about her parents.

3. Chesapeake Bay Girl wonders if there isn't some nice family in Guatemala that would like to adopt her.

The parents eventually pulled into the creek, safe and sound, absolutely unconcerned about the whole storm thing and that whole Leave Daughter in Charge of It All without communicating to her thing.

Thirty-plus years later, I'm still wondering about that nice family in Guatemala.

10 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Hippity Hop. I now want your mother's version!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

mpm - Good idea. I'll bet her version goes like this:

"We never got to go anywhere without those darn kids dragging along, and the one time we go somewhere alone, Oldest Daughter acts like we've committed a felony. We were as safe as could be, major storm, ten-foot waves, and hurricane-force winds notwithstanding. I don't know why she worried so much, that's all she does is worry even to this day. I can't even go into Wal-Mart and get lost without her paging me over the loudspeaker."

I could go on, but I feel certain it would go something like that.

Good idea, though. I should ask for her version of events, because I know she'll remember it (based on all the fussing I did when they finally pulled in).

Rebeckah said...

I loved those hopper things too! We had some in the church nursery and I thought they were the coolest.

If you got adopted by a Guatamalen family I know a lot of people would miss you! Especially your dentist : )!

Anonymous said...

Ummmm....I remember this story. Our grandparents were watching us, which means CBC wasn't really "in charge." Good Grief!

-Middle Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Middle Sister - The Grandmother Who Lived Next Door only checked on us about once, while she went back to her house to take a nap or play bridge or something. We were left alone and she was no help whatsoever. And The Grandfather? He was probably off playing poker or something. No way did he ever come over to watch us.

I'll get more details from Chesapeake Bay Mother.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Middle Sis - One more fact. That is the same Grandmother who dropped us all off at the Islander every day in the summer and then drove off never to be seen or heard from until sunset. We'd have no money, no food and I'd be half starved to death by the time she picked us up.

I maintain that although she was technically "in charge," I was the one doing the babysitting and worrying. Just like at the Islander.

Big Hair Envy said...

You certainly were a brave little four year old.

I had a Hippity Hop. There is an old reel-to-reel movie of me hopping around the house on it when I was about two. I hopped right into my dad, who was holding the camera, and knocked him over! Hahahahaha!

Bear Naked said...

CBMother and CBGrandmother were probably trying to teach you the the definition of responsibility.
Either that or they had heard that a nice couple from Guatemala had been spotted in the area and were looking for suitable young girls to join their family.

Bear((( )))

foolery said...

That's okay, CBW, I understand. As the oldest child left alone to watch my brothers occasionally (they were pretty boring -- no tricks or anything), I know the mantel of responsibility on your shoulders.

It is a heavy mantel. A mantel that makes you say things like "Only THREE scoops of ice cream, Fredo!" and "GET THE GUN!"

Bless your heart.

Karen Deborah said...

Me too. Which is why I reserved the right to beat little brothers with a pool stick. It was a bit excessive. Mom shouldn't have left us so much. I'm amazed we all survived each other. One time I was feeling very sentimental about being so *abusive* to my brothers.
I was talking to the younest one, who left live snakes in his pants pockets. Said brother also put a bowl of maggots under my nose, among other creepy things BUT to be fair, now that we are grown ups I thought I should tell him I was sorry for being so mean. I gave a really moving and thoughtful speach and ended it with a plea for forgiveness. My brother looked at me and started laughing. He said, "I don't know what you are talking about, whatever you did I had it coming." You weren't mean, we were bad.

You never know. Just when you think there is no hope.

Just for the record what is CBMamas version?