Today I am thankful ..
- Bravely I follow my heart into the unknown with no promises
- It’s a writing day. Ass deep in words.
- The world is asleep outside my window. Calm and Serene.
affectionately yours, Laura
When I was little, I would ride on the back of my Dad’s tractor in a big barrel filled with sand. Dad said the sand was there to balance the tractor when he was lifting heavy loads.
I thought the barrel had only one purpose, and that was for me to ride in it. It became the throne from which I ruled my kingdom. I was my Dad’s princess. He even told me so.
My most vivid memories center around the last house my Dad built. It was the house that was in the process of the foundation being laid when my parents divorced. The house, like their marriage and our family, the foundation was never completed
I believe I spent most of my fifth year in that barrel with my Dad on that tractor.
I was such a little girl, that barrel seemed so big to me. Not only was it large in diameter, it was high off the ground. I would pretend I was a princess looking down on the world from far up above.
It was always a thrill when Dad would have to drive somewhere, and I could wave to all the people on the sidewalk and in their cars. I would try my hardest to wave like the princesses I had seen in parades.
During the summer, sunburned I would dig down into the barrel when the top of the sand got too hot.”Princesses don’t get hot. When the going gets tough, the tough get going” Dad said. So I would not complain. Instead, I would keep busy covering myself with sand, building sand castles, and other endless creations to keep my mind busy.
Sometimes I would just curl up in the barrel and watch the clouds float by above me. I would look for shapes in the big white billowing masses and makeup stories. Anything to take my mind off the heat and thirst or hunger.
I’ll never forget one time I couldn’t wait any longer to go to the bathroom, and I wet my pants. I was very afraid to tell my Dad. Once he started the job; he didn’t like to stop. “Princesses can hold their potty,” he told me. “Just a little while longer, you can do it.” I was sure that up in the sky those clouds that day spelled out “Laura wet her pants.” for all to see. How very un-princess like of me.
Much of my time in that barrel I fantasized about what I wanted and things I was going to do. One of the things I wanted to do was play in the dense woods that were behind the new house. I wasn’t allowed to go in there, so I admired it from afar. It was vivid green with paths that I was sure one could wander on to hide away.
I imagined myself climbing one of the huge trees whose branches stretched out like loving arms. I wanted desperately to snuggle in one of its limbs to sleep with no fear. I envisioned myself swinging from tree to tree Tarzan style. I, of course, would be Jane princess of the forest.
One of the things I really wanted was a tree house high above the ground complete with a balcony and a sandbox underneath. The tree house had to be pink with white trim and have a flower box for pansies under the windows. A perfect domain for a princess I thought.
Dad kept promising I would have one. He said he’d love to see his princess have one. But every time we planned it, he said my Mom would make him so mad that he couldn’t think straight to build it. That dream never died, I finally got my tree house, but I let my daughter think it was hers.
Even with my Dad sitting inches from me, we didn’t exactly communicate. Dad didn’t talk to me but at me. I heard all his troubles with my Mom, other women in his life and work. His frustrations with life and the dreams he had that would never come true as a brewery worker.
I didn’t understand it then. I saw my Dad as my idol. He was tanned, handsome and muscular. I felt his pain and kept his words close to my heart. I kept his secrets. Like a good princess, I was loyal to my Dad. After all, Dad said “It’s just you and me. We don’t need anyone else.”
My memories come back to haunt me on nights like tonight. When uninvited they have me going back in time. Even using all of my lessons in my life tool kit, calm and peace won’t come. I wait for my medication to ease me into a restless slumber.
© 2014 llpeltier All Rights Reserved **original draft written 2May1992