Johnny's Baby Powder
It was hot and dry, although I remember the grass was green, not cool and damp underfoot, but it was there, and I made the mistake of coming into the always spotless house in a mad slide for the bathroom. My mom was ready, though, and while I did a veritable line dance for her, begging and pleading, "Just let me go to the bathroom first, please, Mom, please? Her answer was a foot-stomping "No!" "I warned you," she said, "when your daddy gave you that kitten, and now you're gonna tend to that litter box just like I said!" I moved quickly, grabbed that shoebox full of sand and took off out the door.
Johnny, the hayhand, was around there somewhere, and him with his big old eighteen year smile and teaching me to catch live snakes with my bare hands and causing me to get the only real striping I ever got from my daddy. Anyhow, in my eyes, Johnny was it. Never mind that I was only 3 or 4 years old, I just knew Johnny was it. So I rushed out to the dry dust sanddune of a road out back and I remember how my bluejeans felt on my legs, still hot from being outside before I ever went into the house to pee in the first place. Bending down, scooping the dusty sand, and feeling the heat of those jeans, trying my best, concentrating, not to let it go. It went. So there I was, looking around, tears in my eyes, and fresh litter box in hand, looking, like I said before, for Johnny. As I took the northern route along the side of the house where the shadows were and slipped around that last corner toward the kitchen door, sure enough, there he was, smile and all.
I thought I would die, but I smiled back real big and bolted in that door like nothing was wrong. I just knew I had him fooled, when I came up against Mom again. Yeah. It was one of those days, and nothing I could do or say would convince Mom that I wouldn't be just fine when those jeans dried out. She scooted me back out the kitchen door, and seeing no other option, I used the concrete kitchen steps and the good, hot sunshine to real quick like, dry them out. Johnny had gone on about his business, tending to something around there, and I again felt certain I had the problem fixed up just fine as my drawers had dried up alright. So I was playing in the old tractor tire tube out front for a minute, then riding this old lawnmower with no engine left in it when Johnny came back.
I laughed and played kid games with him for a while and when I had totally forgotten the whole incident, he grinned at me real nice and said, "I'm going back to work now, but," he added, "I got some baby powder in the truck if you need it!" And I, not being the least bit disconcerted, said, "Oh, well, no, I guess you better save that for yourself!"
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