It should be well-documented by now that I grew up in rural northwest Iowa on a small farm between two tiny towns, Correctionville and Cushing. I have many great memories of living on the farm, but a farm girl I wasn't. Stuck on the farm, I was. As a young kid, getting together with a friend meant walking or riding our bikes around the country mile to meet somewhere in the middle and play...in the ditches or the dirt road. It was scintillating stuff.
In the thick of my high school years, I sought the freedom that only a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme could give me (it was baby blue with two doors and electric windows). The best reason, as far as my parents could see, for me to drive it anywhere was to work. So quickly I saught outside employment that took me to the big city of Correctionville and away from critters and other farm-like life.
One particularly memorable summer was spent working three jobs: detassling corn-- a certain kind of hell many will never know, working with the school janitor as her assistant (i.e. gum scraper-offer), and preparing tasty ice cream and fried treats at the local Valley Drive Inn. I was never and continue to NOT be a night owl. I loved getting up and heading to work to detassle in the early morning. I could then catch my janitor shift by late morning and work to mid-afternoon, and then do the closing shift at the drive-in. I felt good having spent the whole day making money and missing out on farm fun. But the end of the week made me tired, and you know, teenage girls can be a bit dramatic.
It must have been a Saturday because the drive-in was open until 11:00 p.m. A closer would usually remain until 11:30 p.m. I had a week filled with early mornings and glamorous work and I was tired. I tumbled in the door of our house close to midnight. Evidently one of my sister's cats was thrilled to see me and lept toward me as I was trying to close the door. I say trying because the door got stuck. The cat's tail was in the way. The cat did not like this. The cat lurched for my leg. The cat attached itself to my leg. The cat did not let go of my leg. Wearing my pretty polyester purple shirt and shorts provided no protection from a ticked-off kitty who was clawing her way down my legs. It was truly one of the only times I was happy to have short legs. I screamed. The cat howled. I fell and proceeded to roll across the floor hoping to unstick the cat.I screamed some more. The lights flew on and the people started coming. Mom, dad, sister, and brothers were all wondering what the hell was happening. As was I. Why was I on the floor with a cat attached to my leg? Why? Why? Why? All I wanted was sleep. I wanted no cat attached to my limbs, no blood pouring down my legs, and no fur stuck to my skin. I woke up ready to take on the world away from the farm and all it's critters. I lamely ended the day wailing and rolling on two-tone brown shag carpet with a messed-up kitty's claws piercing my skin. The scars would fade long before I stopped hearing that cat's meow.