After She Left, the Mischief Began

Boy picking up puzzle pieces


When I was a young boy, I lived in the small town of Afton, Wyoming. Afton was a place where keys were left in the cars, doors remained unlocked, and it was safe to leave young children home.

One day my mother and sisters went to town, leaving my two cousins and me alone. We were approximately five years old. While it was true that she didn’t need to worry about our safety, it was not true that we were safe from ourselves.

After she left, the mischief began. We decided to rearrange the furniture by piling our couch, table, chairs, beds, and whatever else we found against the door. We also threw puzzles, books, and papers around the room to give it the lived-in look.

After finishing, we realized we had forgotten about the back door. We acted quickly, but unfortunately all we had left was the refrigerator and the old Wringer washing machine.

When mom got home, she went to the front door, turned the knob, and pushed, but it wouldn’t open. Three sets of eyes were glued to the window, watching and laughing as she struggled to get in. She looked at us and yelled to let her in. Three little heads shook, telling her “no”. Then we laughed harder.

She headed to the back door, and by the time she reached it her adrenaline was pumping. She pushed, and we pushed, and we lost. My cousins were sent home, and all I remember is sitting on the front room floor, crying, and putting puzzles together.

The reality is my cousins and I messed up. My mother deserved to be angry, and she took appropriate measures to solve the problem. She held me accountable and made me clean up the mess. As I grew older, she still held me accountable while providing encouragement, guidance, and extra eyes to help me put my personal life puzzle together. Our children will be fortunate if they have the same type of love and concern and eyes watching them.

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