I decided to run away from home when I was about 5 years old.
My best friend Beth lived down a hill and across several acres of prime dairy farm. There were a few barbed wire fences and a herd of black and white
I threw all my earthly belongings into Moms old hat box, grasped the flimsy ribbon band like a handle, and snuck out the back door.
My escape route led beyond the back yard, past the chicken house, the fruit house, the woodshed, and the garage. A narrow path led between a wall and a sharp uphill slope to the garden.
Through the gate I pushed, and fled beneath the pink climbing rose that trailed up to the roof. I was going to miss the rose bush and the chicken house.
I hurried across the flat grassy area that was edged on one side by some old growth forest. It was very dark and scary when you were alone. The other side had low scrub trees growing on the perimeter of a steep incline that led to the “lower pasture’ and a duck pond. Sometimes it was just mud and swamp and that day was no exception.
I tumbled several times during my descent. That box was bulky and awkward for my short little arms and legs.
When I reached the pasture, I tripped over a plowed furrow and landed in the mud. The hatbox lid rolled away trailing with it my panties and socks.
Darn clothes anyway. Beth’s mom would probably take me shopping and buy me all new clothes. Most of mine were hand me downs.
By the time I reached the electric fence that separated our small farm from the dairy, the hatbox was beginning to fall to pieces. I had tears in my eyes as I propped the disintegrating package against a fence post.
Several bovine in the adjacent field became aware of my whimpers and ambled over for a closer look. It wasn’t long before the entire herd headed my way.
This was getting serious. I couldn’t go on because the cows were so big and they had tails like ropes that kept switching this way and that.
I didn’t want to go back, because I knew that there would be a switching there, too. Especially when mom saw what I had done to her hatbox.
Hence, I bent over, sobbed into my hands and hid my eyes from the staring cows and the demolished hatbox.
That’s when something touched my shoulder.
I looked up to see my brother Mike standing close with a silly grin on his face. He couldn’t help it. He just had a silly grin.
“Let me help ya!” he offered.
He gathered up scattered muddy clothes and ripped up hatbox in one arm. With his other arm, he reached out and offered me his hand. Together we started walking back across the soggy pasture towards home.
That’s when I decided I didn’t want to go live at Beth’s house after all. She didn’t have any brothers.