Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Nostalgia and Niches

At four years old I thought myself to be quite the entrepreneur and adventurer.

My father and I lived at a local resort that snuggled itself cozily into the hill shadows of Mt. Bachelor, a short distance outside of our sleepy little mill town.

As a former patrolman who was trying to support his youngest daughter and build a fresh start after he and my mother divorced, my dad had taken a job there as a security officer--I had not really found my niche yet, but no one would dare claim that I was not committed to the search.

On days when the cartoons would lull, or when Woody Woodpecker's antics were undersized in comparison to what I thought I might be able to muster, I'd convince my daddy that the world outside of our studio apartment needed me.

I would spend the hours between afternoon snack and sunset, assisting housekeeping, or trying to sway the other staff members into thinking that they required nourishment from my store, a pet rock, or...maybe even a haircut?

Even when my business plans did not pan out precisely the way that I had hoped (I'll let you guess which of those ventures was the least successful), I remained flexible and was willing to adjust my strategy wherever I thought it necessary.

On one occasion, as my father slept off his night shift, I decided that the entertainment industry might be more my thing.

With all of the hallmarks of a little girl set on running off to join the circus, I drew my floral bed sheet clown suit swiftly over Underroos, gathered my toy poodle pup, Chewbacca, into a box, and with a tug of the attached rope, the two of us set off on our first-ever tour.

It had never occurred to me before this moment to ask why it was called a tour.

I can't tell you how many laps we did around that parking lot before the definition set in and we got noticed. Eventually our footwork paid off and we found ourselves being wined and dined at the little hamburger shop at the center of the property. A very hospitable woman who asked lots of questions and let me have chilled Pepsi and chocolate-vanilla-swirl soft serve ice cream, kept Chewy and I company.

When it was time to leave, she took our picture and I determined right there that she must be a publicity agent set to launch our new career.

It wasn't until the next day, well after I had returned to our apartment, just-as-if-I-had-never-left, that I realized my miscalculation. Kind Lady and Buyer of Ice Cream was not who I thought she had been…Kind Lady was a newspaper reporter.

That morning as my father folded pages of the Bend Bulletin, past crossword, straight to the community section, both he and I were in for quite the surprise.

How exactly was it that his daughter, who had been where she belonged both when he went to bed and when he woke up, ended up featured in the paper?!

I should have just crossed 'life of crime' off of my budding career list right then and there.

I never would get away with much growing up.

It was never for lack of effort, I was just better at getting caught--my dad always found out.

Eliminating it at four years-old certainly would have saved Teenage-Me and Father-of-Teenage-Me a lot of energy that sure would come in handy now that I have my own five kids.

And now, I have a sneaking suspicion that the little girl in that picture above may be about to give me a run for my own money.

I'm just hoping she gets her luck from her mama too.

Can I get an Amen?

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