Amazing how our outlook on life changes as we get older (not necessarily more mature).
When I considered myself a young adult (actually maybe 15 years old) I thought “little kids” (anybody younger than me) were unruly, ignorant little brats and their parents should make them behave — especially when real work was in progress.
When the neighbors came to help at gathering and branding times they always brought their bratty little kids that couldn’t stay out of the way. They played their silly little games like trying to walk along the top of the corral’s fence rails and falling off smack in front of the roper dragging a calf to the flanking and branding crew.
They made a big deal of grabbing the steer calves’ freshly removed bull calf credentials, throwing them on the branding fire to cook and then eating them, dirt and all.
Naturally, they all carried little ropes and threw them at everything that moved — even the chickens. A favorite game was for the roper to say, “Run by me and bawl like a calf.” Another kid would take up the challenge every time. Then if he accidentally got caught he’d yell bloody murder and claim to be mortally wounded by the rope.
They practiced the tiedown part, too, and got pretty good at the “two wraps and a hooey” as long as the victim didn’t jump up and run off.
Of course, I was perfectly innocent and never had done any of that misbehaving stuff. I said, often and loud, “When I have kids they won’t ever act like that.”
They acted tacky in town, too, especially at the movie. Our town only had one theater, and it showed the same movie until everyone within a 50-mile radius had seen it at least once. The Ten Commandments was kept over for three weeks. By the third Saturday afternoon all the younger kids were yelling the commandments ahead of Charlton Heston when he (Moses) came off the mountain carrying the tablets.
I had most of the movie memorized by then, too, but I still thought those kids were being rude. “My kids won’t ever behave like that,” I declared.
Our school had all the grades in one building, so there was no escape from those little rascals. When we were doing important stuff like shooting baskets in the gym during lunch, they would run among us with their water guns, shrieking, giggling and generally messing us up.
We had a friend who was an elementary school teacher. She grew up in a military family, and she taught my niece one year, which my niece called her “that’s not allowed” year.
She later married and had children. We visited when her first daughter, a real cutie, was about 2. “How do you like motherhood compared to teaching?” I asked.
She smiled ruefully and said, “I’ve already gone back on 10 “my child won’t evers.”
I, also a mother by then, confessed to a similar changed attitude.
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at: