When Celeste got off the school bus one fine spring day, she was so happy to see that her father had returned from his long tour of music. The day at school left her upset after being bullied once again; but the minute she saw their auto in the driveway her mood lighten. She ran into the house and yelled out. “I’m home, papa and mama.” Like routine the little girl set her backpack on the floor and started to scan the quiet home. “I betcha they’re out in the barn.”
Celeste left her home and headed to the barn. The minute she was almost at the barn’s door she heard the heated confrontation of her parents. Unable to entered the barn she left on foot back to her home and got her slingshot her grandfather made for her. It was a birthday present two years ago, and she loved it to pieces. Nothing gave her the greatest pleasure than walking through the dense woods shooting her slingshot at insects. Celeste loved to smell the earth and trees, at times she dreamed of being a tree but knew that would be impossible. When she hugged a tree her soul hummed with vibrancy and could swear she heard whisper greetings from the solid mass. She skipped her way through the woods hearing the rustle of leaves with her slingshot, heading to Ernie’s house to see her raccoon, Ringo.
“Well hello little britches, what do I owe the honor of your visit?” Ernie and Ringo were skinning fish together. Ernie skinned while Ringo ate the leftovers. Celeste smiled at her little friend as she watched him licking his fingers clean and making his ticking sound. She took the time to sit down beside Ernie and didn’t say a word, but watched his skill of peeling off the skin of several fish. “I’m a thinkin’ you’re papa returned home.” Celeste nodded her head yes silently. Ringo jumped with excitement onto her lap and gave her a lick on the lips, and began to pick her nose. “Stop that vermin…I will eat you myself. That’s a nasty habit picking someone’s boogers but your own.” Celeste smiled with love at the rodent and put him back on the ground.
Ernie chuckled, he loved watching animal and human battle for dominance; but these two were hilarious at times. He spied the critter immediately start untying her shoe laces. “Ernie, how come adults fight and what does a manual mean?” Ernie didn’t want to talk about why adults fight. Instead, he told her softly in his southern drawl. “A manual youngin’ is a book with instructions how to educate ya’. As for the adults why they fight, it is one reason I prefer to be by myself. No one controls me, I like being free to do what I want and when I want!” Celeste gave Ernie a odd look and pondered on his comment about control.
“Does everyone control each other when they get married?” Ernie didn’t want to tell the already smart country girl his way of thinking. He quickly changed the topic. “How was school today little one?” “You’re not answering me buddy?” Celeste sang to him in a teasing voice. Ernie smiled and completed his task with the fish. “Help me git this shit cleaned up girl, and then we can sit and talk about the man in the moon.”
Celeste got up from sitting on the log when she tripped over her untied laces. “Mother F&*^%^ damn pest!” The tomboy bellowed out. Ernie raised his eyes in surprised how she ripped it out with flare. “I’m a thinkin’ little britches you shouldn’t be talkin’ like that. Where you learned that from?” Celeste stood up and spit out the dirt from her mouth, Ernie laughed. “I learned it at school, and I hear you and papa say it. You say it more when you been drinking.”
Ernie didn’t laugh, he wanted to kick himself in the butt for not watching out what he said around the little girl. “Well I think you’re mama will wash out your mouth with soap if she heard ya, so don’t be saying it again.” Ernie was more floored when she replied in a nasty tone, “You’re not the boss of me!” He could feel the boiling heat rise to his face. “Girl, ya talk to me like that again, I will give ya a good ass lickin’ with me belt!”
Celeste could feel she messed up, she didn’t want Ernie to be mad at her, so she offered a peace statement. “Well Ernie, you told me you don’t like to be controlled. So I am a thinkin’ I too don’t like to be controlled!” There was nothing worse in this world having a smart ass little girl use your words against you.
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