Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In which, I do not eat a worm...

One of the great joys of my childhood came from turning over rocks.

Always, something fascinating would appear -- beetles, pillbugs, centipedes, millipedes, snails, and even black widow spiders (uh-oh) or unexpected snakes (yikes!).

The bigger and flatter the rock, the better the findings.

In our backyard, near the southeast corner of our sandstone house and just up a slight incline from the mulberry tree where my brothers and I almost struck oil, there lay a large, flat sandstone rock left over from our home's construction many years before I was born.

That rock seemed providentially shaped and placed to tempt my ready hands, but it proved too large for me to turn over by myself.

I knew that my older brother, Pat, wouldn't help me because he found bugs somewhat less than fascinating ... maybe even repellent.

But I needed an accomplice and found one in my brother Tim, who was two years my junior but always big and strong for his age. He eventually grew so big and powerful and bearded in his late teenage years that everybody called him "animal." At the time that he helped me, though, he was only a cub, so it took our combined muscles to tip the rock over.

And we found treasure. Big, fat, juicy earthworms withdrawing from the unwonted, unwanted light.

We snatched a couple before they could draw back into their holes and raised them high aloft to better view their full glory, our mouths agape in wonder at the long, thick worms dangling just above our heads.

At that instant, Pat rounded the northeast corner of our house and glimpsed the two of us holding worms directly over our wide-open mouths.

"Yuck!" he exclaimed and ran off. Within 30 seconds, grandfather appeared, thunderating that we "Stop eating those worms."

"We're not eating worms," I said. "We're just looking at them."

Pat, however, was certain that he had seen us eating worms, and he firmly maintains that view till this very day.

Grandfather, on the basis of Pat's report, was convinced that we were eating worms. Grandmother, persuaded by grandfather's conviction, concluded that we had been eating worms. Everyone in the family believed that we had been caught eating worms.

Our protests changed no minds: "Can't trust 'worm-eaters'!" everyone seemed to think.

Consequently, the report has entered our family chronicles: "On this day in 1962, the brothers Jeff and Tim ate some worms."

But we didn't.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Chris Weimer said...

That has way too many theological, philosophical, and political undertones that would take me a book or two or twenty to fully expand on. So many points all at once to simply elucidate the power of humanity - built on what, again?

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It's all so complicated...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the funniest posts I've read in some time! My mother has a childhood story over which she and my aunt still differ. It was a source of amusement for us the kids, too. Of course, I can't remember it now!

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, as they say, "Misery loves to amuse company."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't quite get that one: is the Gypsy Scholar feeling miserable? I gather from his last employment update that he could possibly stay on at his present job. On the other hand, he is writing a lot about his old home in the Ozarks. Is he on the verge of an immanent return home? And if so, is the Gypsy Scholar inclined to answer the questions? I hope he's ok.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess that was obscure.

I was joking about how my 'misery' at being accused of eating a worm has come to provide amusement for others.

I won't be returning to the Ozarks anytime soon.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand by my story.


(I'm waiting for, "in which I purchase the Mulberry tree...")

At 1:43 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I got a big chuckle out of this one. Tell them that they're Wormeater Bigots next time.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

P.S. You need to read Jori-San's blog today.

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Pat, I was thinking about that one but also about "In which, we explode a bullet"...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Saur, I'd rather drive a Chevy than eat one of those wor... Huh? (scrolling down Jori-San's blog) Is there really a food product in Japan called Homo Sausage?

If that don't beat all...

Jeffery 'Horace' Hodges

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