I was an utterly fearless child before I had polio. That often got me into trouble.

In addition to the goat, ducks, chickens, and dog, we had rabbits. There were three rows of rabbit hutches. They stood higher than I was tall. I liked to climb on top of them and run down the rows of hutches, leaping from one to the other. This upset the rabbits and Papa was always telling me not to do it. However, it was so much fun, that I did it anyway and often had two friends, Roxanne and Mary, who would scamper over the hutches with me.

We often did it around twilight when we were less likely to get caught.

One day I misjudged a jump, missed the adjacent hutch, and landed in a bale of wire on the ground. My leg became caught in it and I got cut up badly. Every time I tried to get loose, I only cut myself worse. I did not cry and holler. From a very young age, I felt a need to be ‘tough’ and I refused to sound like a wuss by crying over the pain.

Roxanne went for help.

Papa lifted me free and carried me into the house. I begged Mama not to put merthiolate on the cuts and to use bactine instead. She said that if the medicine did not burn then it was not doing its job right. I gritted my teeth and put up with it. Afterward they took me down to ER and got me a tetnus shot.

Mama did not like whiners.

The rabbits led to another bit of mischief. Aunt Tommie was afraid of mice, rats, and rabbits. She came to visit one day and was sitting in the living room with Mama visiting.

Of all my aunts, Tommie was the most high-strung and easily upset. She was a prissy woman who talked in a high voice at a rapid rate with lots of hand gestures. Tommie was married to Mama’s younger brother, Floyd, and came from a farming family that owned a great deal of land and was full of interesting stories.

Whimsy and mischief got the better of me. I filled my arms with a bunch of baby bunnies, and turned them loose just inside the door from the kitchen into the living room. Tommie shrieked and jumped up on a chair when the baby bunny invasion was unleashed. If she was this high strung as a child, i have no idea how she survived on a farm growing up.

The bunnies scattered through the house as afraid of Tommie’s shrieking as she was of them. I got a tongue lashing from Mama and spent the rest of the day gathering up bunnies and returning them to the hutches. Many of the bunnies hid in places that the adults could not reach, so i had to climb around beneath the furniture and other spots to get them all.

Then i got a tongue lashing from Papa for terrorizing his bunnies.