March 25, 2013

And then I was almost eaten by a pack of wild wolves...

I have an obsession with Little House on the Prairie.  My mom read us the entire set of books through three times when I was a kid.  It was the only show my Granny would let us watch at her house and all of my cousins and I would gather around the TV after lunch to watch Carrie fall in a well or see Nelly Olsen be a punk.  (At my Mamaw's we had "As The World Turns".  That was a feast for the senses.  It's a wonder I don't slap my husband across the face or throw a glass of champagne on him before I sleep with his brother's wife's cousin's boss after all that drama!) 

My LH obsession was so great that in the fifth grade when we had egg day, I had to incorporate my favorite gal, Laura.  We did all kinds of science experiments with eggs.  Finally we had to turn our eggs into a character and my egg was, of course, "Laura Egg-ells Wilder" complete with bonnet and yarn braids glued to it. 

So now, when my kids ask me to tell them stories about when I was a kid, my favorite ones to tell them are the ones that make me sound like Laura Ingalls living on the prairie.  Y'all, if they made a twelve step group for Little Housers, I needed to be in it.  (And for the record, when Melissa Gilbert had all that plastic surgery and changed her whole look, I wanted to cry because it was so un-Laura. At least I recognize that I need help.) 

Me in pigtail braids.  Ob. Sessed.

About a year ago we were roasting marshmallows around the fire pit when my kids asked me to tell them a story from my childhood.  I pulled out one that I had repressed for a long time.  It was a story that would have made Laura proud...

...When I was 9 years old, I almost got eaten by a pack of wild wolves.  Really.  The KY Derby Festival had a hot air balloon race.  The balloons were supposed to fly around, find an x on the ground and then drop a sandbag as close as they could the to x.  Whichever balloon got the closest was the winner. The x must have been pretty close to our house because when my brother and I woke up there were about 50 hot air balloons flying over our back field.  We had giant rolls of hay back there and we took off running and jumped up on those hay rolls to watch the balloons flying over. 

All of a sudden we heard a commotion behind us and a whole pack of wolves came running through the field between us and the house.  I remember panicking and then seeing our neighbor come running out of his house with a gun and waving his arms around like a crazy person trying to scare the wolves off.  The wolves kept running and our neighbor helped us safely into the house. 

When I think back about it, it was one of the scariest moments of my childhood.  I kind of got a little frightened just telling my kids about it.  I hadn't thought of that incident with the wolves in so long and couldn't figure out why it wasn't a harrowing tale that we regaled at every family gathering.  The picture of how it all went down was so vivid in my head it felt like it had just happened to me yesterday.  I brought it up to my dad and the story started to unravel.

"Meg," my dad said, "They were coyotes, not wolves." 

Coyotes.  Hmmm.  Still scary but not as scary as a pack of wolves.  Wolves come in the ware variety.  Coyotes come in the Wile E. variety and chase roadrunners. 

So, I was prepared to be able to tell the story and change the detail to a pack of coyotes.  Then I brought it up to my mom.

"Megan," she said, "It was one coyote."  What!?  Surely she was mistaken.  I clearly remembered an entire pack of wild things running across that field.

So, I was prepared to change the story to the time that I almost got eaten by one lone coyote until my neighbor ran out of his house and tried to shoot it.

But the kicker came last night.  After an entire year of my worst childhood memory coming into a whole different light, my husband met the neighbor who saved me from the wild coyote.  The neighbor said, "That coyote wasn't acting right.  It was weaving and stumbling around!"  He guessed maybe that it was rabid and that's why it was acting so weird but the way he described the movements made it sound like the coyote had one too many beers at Coyote Ugly.  He didn't even remember getting his gun.  He said he thought that he just ran outside and yelled really loud to try to scare it away from us.

I'm beginning to wonder if any of my childhood was as I imagine it.  At this point, my story doesn't even remotely resemble anything from the Little House books.  I wondered if Laura would be impressed if I started my story with, "This one time, I saw a drunk coyote stumble into the backyard..."

Can we just pretend like it was a pack of wild wolves?  My children think I'm so much cooler with wild wolves. *sigh*   

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