Hope, My Ten Year Old Self and Saving The Day!

12 Feb




I love the way that old memories, neatly stored in dusty, cobwebby files, suddenly decide to make their way out into the open air, like they were there all along. To be totally honest, I’m not sure my memories are actually neatly stored in files. I think perhaps they spin around in one of those Oz Lotto type machines and randomly, every now and then, out pops a winner. Well today was one of those Memory Bingo days. If you have read this blog before, you probably know how much I love my backyard chicks but last night, when I went out to put them to bed, Hope was absent from roll call. When I questioned the others, they all started pecking around, not meeting my eye. Now Coco Chanel often goes MIA but not Hope. She is the reasonable, amicable one. Alliances come and go in the chook house, but Hope is everyone’s favourite, including mine. She’s also the groups’s spokeswoman. When the mob want extra feed or the water bowl is dry, Hope waddles up to the back door, pecks on the glass and ever so nicely lets me know that I am not quite up to speed with this chicken caper. She is also the only one who loves a quiet cuddle on the back deck. So there I was at 9.00pm, torch in hand, searching the normal nooks and crannies, calling her name. Nothing. First thing this morning, I was out there, boots and gloves on, crawling my way through the weeds undergrowth (and expecting the worse), when I heard a very faint clucking sound. I followed it on my hands and knees. There she was, stuck under our house. How she got in, I’ll never know. “Don’t worry Hope – I’m coming to get you!” I cried. And before I even made it to the shed, a forgotten old memory, dusted itself off and burst into life. It happened during the summer holidays when I was probably about 10 years old. My partner in crime (Caren) and myself, who I might add, were wonderfully free to explore the world as long as we were home for dinner, decided we needed wanted a little real life drama in our street. We figured that if Whiskers, (Caren’s cat) got stuck up high in a tree, we would be well within our rights to call the fire brigade and help stage a full scale rescue! How much fun would that be right? The ladders, the truck, the siren… So we started coaxing Whiskers up into the branches of Caron’s magnificent willow tree using all sorts of delicious treats. Finally Whiskers, who was nothing short of a skilled gymnast, got tired of the game and delicately padded across the branches, jumped down and fell asleep in a patch of sun on the footpath. I, on the other hand, was well and truly stuck up in that tree. I was scared! “Don’t worry Beth. I’m coming to get you!” Caren called out. I can’t remember exactly how I made it down but I do know that (unfortunately) it didn’t involve the fire brigade. While this old memory is playing in my mind like a patchy home movie, Hope is getting more and more agitated.  (Well she was missing breakfast!) Finally I prized off the weatherboards but she wouldn’t budge. For a minute, I did consider fulfilling my  childhood dream and actually calling the fire brigade; how much fun would that be right? The ladders, the truck, the sirens, the ripped kind men in uniforms!! But in the end, I decided that as I was rather short on time, I would have to be my own hero. Believe it or not, I crawled (commando style) through dust, dirt, building materials and goodness knows what, till I was by Hope’s side. But just as I got there, she skipped off towards the light and out into the backyard, without so much as a backward glance. The others all gathered around her admiringly while she talked and talked – no doubt about all the things she had seen under that house, in the dead of night. In that moment, Hope who had always been the smallest of the bunch, seemed to tower above them. Pride and a sense of adventure does that to a girl. When I finally crawled out, covered in dirt, they all stopped and looked at me as if I had totally lost my mind. Then they started up this mad clucking chorus. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they were laughing! But I’m okay with that. It’s not every day that you hang out with your ten year old self  and get to be the hero in your very own home grown drama!


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