by Ali McKee
A visit to my relatives...
| “Chris! Here he comes! Ready – Grab him! Left, left... no, your other left!”
I pitched around on the deck, first right, then left, trying to catch the sorry little piece of fuzz they call a goat kid. As it dodged my hands and escaped my grip, my 14-year-old cousin was doubled over with laughter. This was entertainment! Not often did his “city-slicker” teen cousin come for a visit, and watching her slip around on the wet deck, especially doing something he would otherwise have to do, was great.
I would like to be a fritter-head and go off onto another tangent to tell you that I do not live in a city, nor do I take after the ways of a... city-slicker, as they get way too much fun out of calling me. In fact, we (rather, my grandparents) have our own 90 acres where my horse (along with a five or six other horses) abides, and a few mangy looking cows. We even have an orchard and a large garden, where the handful of skinny little chickens who haven't been eaten by the coyotes like to root up the vegetables and eat them for breakfast (unbeknownst to us).
The goat on the deck looked rather like a chocolate-dipped vanilla ice-cream cone, minus the cone and plus four legs. Actually, they called it a Boer Goat, and it really is cute, when it's not hungry. However, when it is, it turns piranha, and it's a terrible thing to behold. Thankfully, goats never grow top teeth, except at the back of their mouths, so you don't have to worry about learning to function with three less fingers any time in the near future.
Anyway, I finally managed to get the kid (the goat kid, not Chris) to settle down long enough to shove the bottle into his mouth, and soon, he was sucking along quite jovially. Needless to say, I was ready for a nap at 7:30am.
As I write this, I've only been here one day, and though I've been here many times before, each time there's one more adventure I've not yet had. Such as playing baseball with three people, not counting the fact that two of us can't bat worth talking about and only one of us can pitch worth mentioning. More on that later.
My cousins are curiously early risers. Perhaps it's because they're trying to get started early on a good habit, or I suppose it could have something to do with the fact that the cartoons they watch every morning air at 6 o'clock AM. In any case, I'm usually up before I like to be, and they are always rarin' to go before I am. For me, I have a tendency to be a bit like one of those mummies they talk about in the ancient Egyptian times, minus the white wrappings, plus the frizzled hair and two black eyes.
The normal day starts out with them completing their chores while I emerge from my mummy-stage, then us going out to have a good game of “Whatever-we-can-think-of”. You've probably heard of it.
The first morning, it was sword-fighting with those evil narrow poles you can cut by yourself from the many trees that surrounded their house. This was no regular sword fight. It was defined by the fact that there were no rules, that it was every man for himself, that you could stop the game at any time, even if your excuse was because your nose was itching.
Chris's eleven-year-old sister Erinn is very different from Chris. If she'd been out there with the goat kids that horrid morning that I went slipping around like a moron trying to catch a goat kid, she would have helped, instead of laughing herself helpless.
Just now, Erinn was yelling for me to move over because Chris was about to land a good one on my leg. Ouch. I didn't move fast enough.
I howled and overreacted, grabbing my leg and hopping around like a personless pogo-stick. Chris got a big kick out of my act and decided to hit me again, but I was ahead of him this time. I did one of those cool-looking twirls that you see awesome ninjas do sometimes and landed a hard thwack on his shield.
After the sword fight, during which there were no casualties, surprisingly, we headed inside for some school. After fifteen minutes of working on Science, I would rather have gone to get a root canal with no medication. I hate Science, Biology, whatever. The only fun part in school is spelling. Then I get words like dephlagisticate and absquatulate and others along that line.
Lunch next. That's usually uneventful: no food fights yet.
Ah, yes. Now for baseball! Forget rules. Who needs those, anyway? We used a bat that couldn't really be called a bat unless you had a really vivid imagination, a dead mitt, and a few little league baseballs.
As pitcher, I was constantly being lectured on how the goal was not to kill the batter, that I needed to throw more to my left, and no, not that far left! Throw lower!
Chris eventually became designated batter and I designated pitcher, as we both spent probably a good twenty minutes each on getting good at them. When we finally did switch, I ended up hitting the ball on accident and having it fly up in the air, and as I wondered where it had gone, it came down on my head.. That hurt. And Chris thought it was hilarious. I think my pride was injured worse than my head, though a slight bump was growing up there. Erinn simply stood behind whoever was unlucky enough to be the pitcher at the moment and caught any balls that the batter actually managed to hit.
On the second day, it was almost identical to the first, so I don't even have to tell you about that one, except that we played Nintendo 64. (When was the last time anyone play N 64?! That thing's old.) We bickered over what to play for a while, then decided on Bomberman. Raise your hand if you've heard of that, because I can assure you, not many people have.
The third day, we planted vegetables in their 2000 square foot garden (not really, but it felt like it) and dressed up Erinn's horse, Grand. We took her out to the roadside, where there was a lot of grass, and while she grazed, Erinn and I braided flowers into our hair. That was peaceful, until Chris came along and tried to ambush us. I saw him ahead of time.
“Your dwarf breathes so loud I could shoot him in the dark.” I hollered, faking an English accent and quoting from the Lord of the Rings.
He frowned and as his blonde head appeared over the rise, he called back, “What? I was just taking a walk.”
The last day there was pretty uneventful. We had clean-up in the morning, which usually results in listening to the Quebe Sisters Band and dancing with the broom. But hey! We had fun, and that's what matters, right? You can't let life pass you by. Dance with the broom. Have at it.
I got my violin out and Erinn and I played a duet with her on the piano. That was great. Then we played Heart & Soul, as I played the low part and she played the high part, occasionally switching out. I love that song!
Anyway, my time at Four Mile Farm was great, and I can't wait to go back. (I'm still sore.)