Are you going to kick rocks or shoot bull?

"You've got two choices," my mother would say when she sent my constipated, crabby little brother outside for fresh air.  "You can kick rocks or shoot bull."  Then Mom would send me outside, too.  Childhood in in the early Sixties was all about fresh air and free will, not so different from a Bible story, although we didn't go to Vacation Bible School:

  • Don't eat the blue juniper berries in the Garden of Eden
  • Don't paint the playhouse with mud.
  • Be good and have fun.
  • Scoop the cat poop out of the sandbox.
  • Be your brother's keeper.
  • Do what I mean, not what I say.
  • Don't ask for a dime to buy a sky blue bomb pop from the popsicle man.
'"Shooting bull" was my brother's name for playing cowboy.  He would put on his chaps, vest, hat, and boots, then stand immobile on the driveway holding the end of a rope in one hand, and a Mattel pistol in the other.

Sometimes my little brother would hold a circling battery-operated airplane on a string while he stood immobile on the driveway.  Other times he would sit in his little red firetruck not going anywhere.  On the 4th of July he would wear a space helmet and stand next to a foil-covered cardboard rocket ship made by Dad and me. We would light gaudy pink, green, and blue smoke bombs at the base of the rocket.

Has my brother always been a chipboard cut-out?  Did he flatten over time in my memory?

As for the constipation, Mom alway told my little cowboy brother dried apricots were "the fruit that won the West."  Mom would have been eighty-three this week.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I am loving your immobile little brother despite his...crabbiness, and listening to your mother's advice about dried apricots.


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