A Grand Day! (Part 6... Second to Last Post on this Subject)
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I awoke at my usual time the next day, roughly 6am. I could already hear the hustling and bustling in the kitchen. Because it had been warm the previous evening, I had left my bedroom door open just a crack so there could be an exchange of air. I could see my parents through the slight opening of my door. My father had just sat down at the table, his fresh, clean work clothes... especially the vividly white, starched shirt and his richly-colored, dark brown patterned necktie, made him appear even more awe inspiring and worthy of my respect. My mother displayed her typical serene beauty in her simple white smock and beige, ladies pants. My mother had made the two of them breakfast. It was their typical toast and very strong coffee for. Additionally, my mother had opened one of her home grown and canned jars of peaches and placed a peach half in a small bowl for each of them.
My parents both enjoyed and relished each other's company, and they quietly chatted about their goals for the day as the consumed breakfast.
As for me, as it was still early, I decided to plan out my day. First and foremost, I would need to pack some essential items for the day. I brought along a book I had been reading and several jars in case I found some interesting specimens in the woods. I also dug out my insect net from the closet and placed next to my russack. I made a mental note, to ask my mother to make me a sandwich and also to ask for two or three orange and grape sodas to tak along with me for the adventure. Of course, I also had my small handful of matches with me, wrapped in paper and placed deep in my pack.
My father finished his breakfast and proceeded to gather the accoutrements he needed for the workday. As he started to check to see if he had everything, my mother stood up... and with her hand reached up to my father's face. She gently brushed off a few toast crumbs that were clinging to my father's moustache and beard. My father grinned, and thanked her by kissing her hand. He then proceeded to gather his briefcase of papers and books, his pipe, pouch, and matches and lighter, and finally the lunch my mother had packed. After another brief kiss (this time on the lips), and wishes to have a great day, my father was off to work. My mother started humming quietly to herself as she tidied up the kitchen. I finished straightening my room and then went out into the kitchen.
My mother had warming on the stove the oatmeal we older kids were going to eat for breakfast that day. As my parents were not particularly strict about timetables for us children during the summer, I was the only one awake, and hence I was the first one up and out. My other siblings were still sleeping. My mother and I chatted a bit while she prepared a bowl of oatmeal for me, putting raisins and slices of the canned peaches on top along with a large spoonful of brown sugar. Then she poured a little bit of milk onto the oatmeal and also poured me a glass of milk as well. She sat these before me with a spoon.
I heartily began to eat the oatmeal, it being one of my favorite foods. My mother came and sat beside me and we talked. I told her I had planned to spend time out in the woods today searching for things and asked if she would make me a sandwich that I could take with me. My mother, who also tended to naturally awaken very early had already made sandwiches for me and for my siblings that day and simply gathered one and wrapped it individually in waxed paper for me. I also asked if I could take one orange and one grape sodapop with me, and she smiled and said yes. She reminded me that I should drink the sodapop slowly as it often gave me hiccups if I drank it too rapidly. I promised her I would. With that I finished my breakfast and finished getting ready for the day of exploration. I waved to her as I left and she smiled and waved back at me.
The day itself was sunny, yet pleasantly cool and dry. It was perhaps 60 degrees and virtually no humidity marred the texture of the air. It was an unusually cool and dry morning for the start of July and I relished it greatly. Once out into the woods, I first ran to the edge of the stream and put my two glass bottles of sodapop into the water to get them cool, and the I immediately raced back to the platform of my developing fort. I climbed the latter and immediately sat down. I could hear many different, quite sounds from birds and insects as they too were starting their day. Forgetting for a second, I then raced down from the platform and went to the nook of the tree and reached inside and pulled out the bag with the pipe inside. Heading back up the ladder I sat down and opened my russack and pulled out the matches. I was terribly excited and nervous and anticipatory all at the same time. I gripped the stem of the pipe between my teeth and proceeded to strike the match against the rough surface of the rock. Again, just like in my initial attempt, the first match I tried broke off at the tip.
Fortunately, this time I had several matches. However, I could tell this lighting of a match was a more difficult task than I had first anticipated. I took the pipe out of my mouth and laid it on the plank floor, and proceeded to examine the match more closely. I kept trying to figure out what it was I did incorrectly. Thinking back to how my father lit matches, I kept looking back in my my memory at what he would do. I slowly recalled through deep thought about how my father held the match differently than I had been doing. He would hold the match between his thumb and index finger... near the head of the match, and then use the rest of his fingers to steady the back of the match. He then swiftly rubbed the head against a brick or a rock.
All right. "I can do this." I thought to myself, I slowly positioned the match between my index finger and my thumb. It felt very awkward. Then because my hand was so much smaller, I basically rested the stick end of the match in my palm. To me this seemed so strange and it did not feel natural. Previously I had simply grabbed the wooden end of the match with my fingers and rubbed it around on the rock. With the match in this new position, I tried again, but lost grip on it and it fell to the ground below. By this time I was very frustrated. I was bound and determined to do this correctly. Using a third match, I held it in position and rubbed it swiftly against the rock. Suddenly, the match flared into life! But at the same time, my fingers were VERY CLOSE to that flare! The heat seemed intense, and I involuntarily shook my hand and the match dropped again through a crack between the planks and fell to the ground below. I could not tell if the match was still lit or not, and I feared that it could cause the forrest to catch fire, so I quickly ran down the platform and looked at the spot until I found the match. Even though it WAS out and not lit, to be safe, I rubbed the ground and the match with the heel of my shoe to ensure it was safe.
Back on the platform, I positioned another match in my hand, this time not holding so close to the head of the match, and tried again. This time, while the flare startled me, my fingers were not too close and I did not drop it. I quickly repositioned my hand so that I held the wooden end of the match and reached for the pipe. Quickly, I put the stem of the pipe in my mouth and brought the flame of the match to the bowl. Pretending it was a drinking straw, I sucked on the stem and the flame was pulled into the bowl. It looked just like how my dad did it! I sucked in on the stem of the pipe a few more times and soon there was a little wispy smoke that was drawn into my mouth. It was not very flavorful, and did not taste as good as it had simply smelled when my father was smoking his pipes. Do not get me wrong.... it was not horrible, but it was not nearly as exciting as I had anticipated. I puffed on the pipe a few more times, but all I could think of was that this was.... DULL. Not only did the pipe not taste as amazing as I thought it would, but also, I did not feel any sense of relaxation from the pipe like my father did. What was going on?
I was discouraged and sad at my findings. The pipe, which seemed so utterly magical and beautiful for my father, seemed to be dull and even boring for me. I was completely disappointed.
I sat there for about 15 minutes wondering about why I did not find the pipe as exciting as my father did, and feeling quite "gyped". I sat the pipe aside, and decided to go hunting for insects and amphibians for a while. I did not know what I was going to do about the pipe, but I did not feel like thinking about it anymore, it was so... DULL.
[Another good stopping point for now. Comments or suggestions are always appreciated. Next.... the ACTUAL conclusion to this long-winded story.]