a young pup I was left to explore and to make my way on my own a lot.
My sisters were quite a handful for my mother to keep track of. They
ranged from age 3 to age 17. They were toddlers and young women. All of
the problems of youth wrapped up in a single parent family. My mother
had been recently been left a widow at age 39 with
times I almost felt like a leaf in the wind. I was making lots of
decisions alone without any adult supervision. Many of my choices were
quite poor looking back in retrospect. I am actually quite lucky to
still be on this earth with some of the foolish choices I made.
all of my choices were foolish. It was late fall and trout season was
closed so I was limited in the things I could do. When I got bored I
thought of things that could make me money. I decided to search the path
from the high school to the downtown area and look in the ditch along
the path and pick up pop bottles. In those days you could get .02 cents a
bottle and usually one trip on this path gave me at least 50 pop
bottles. It doesn't seem much now but a DOLLAR was a big deal to me back
I started on main street and worked towards the high school. The pop
bottle spelunking was going quite well and I had to go home quickly
get a bag because there were just too many to carry. The ditch was a
veritable gold mine this day and I was weighed down heavily with at
least 60 pop bottles on the end of my journey.
I was already
thinking about what I was going to spend my HUGE pay day on. I had the
bag hung over my shoulder and was walking back to the grocery store to
cash in my treasure and I saw two high school students dressed really
oddly walking towards the high school.
Me being the curious type I
asked what was up with the costumes. The two girls said they were going
to be in a play called "Brigadoon"
at the High School later that
night and they were heading there to do their final dress rehearsal.
They asked me if I wanted to come watch them practice their lines. I
immediately said "NO"; I thought it wasn't
manly enough for me to be
interested in. I was also in a hurry to cash in my bottles and get some
candy or a new fishing lure. I met four more of the cast on the way to
the store. They were also walking to the high school and were decked out
in costume. These were guys and it really looked like they were getting
into their parts. They
were practicing their lines as they walked. I was on a mission so I went onward to the grocery store.
cashed in my grand total of 70 pop bottles and asked the clerk at the
store what the play was about. She gave me the short version of the
play. It was about a magical place It was about going back in time to
a simpler way of life. The place only appeared once every 100 years.
The name of the play was "Brigadoon."
checked out at the store. I bought no candy today; I bought a spinner
to trout fish with in Spring. It was getting dark so I decided to go
home for supper.
The house was full with activity and the table
was already set. My sisters were helping my mom with supper and I was
really dirty from all the ditch diving. My mom sent me to the bathroom
to shower and put clean clothing on. I protested but I always listened
to my mom.
The rest of the family was already seated when I
returned. I sat down and ate supper. The topic of the play at the high
school came up and my mother gave me a few more details about the play.
really interesting and I thought what the heck. My mom
made me take a shower and put on clean clothes. Why waste it, I thought.
I had a quarter left from ditch diving and that is what it would cost
to get in the play. Off I went to the play.
The opening of the
play had a couple hunters wandering in the mist and they seemed quite
lost. The special effects in 1968 were amazing. They must have used some
dry ice or something similar. The stage was engulfed in mist. At 11
years old I internalized much of what I saw
and heard. These hunters
became people in my life. One of them was my Dad and he was lost and
couldn't find his way home from hunting
in northern Wisconsin.
my Dad had died about a year ago while deer hunting, I still had this
weird fantasy that he didn't really die and that he would appear at home
one day. I was swept away by the story of play from
the moment I saw
the lost hunters. I watched the play on the edge of my seat the entire
time. I was glad that it was dark in the gym because I was fighting back
tears quite often. I loved that play and is my all time favorite.
However, I didn't like the ending of the story, because you would have
to wait another hundred years for Brigadoon to reappear.
touched me because it talked about simpler times and going back in to
your past. I remember all of the things my Dad taught me about the
I had my own little Brigadoon every time I went to
the trout stream. It was where my Dad seemed the happiest and I could
imagine him being with me on every outing. Every wildflower he had
identified for me reminds me of the magic of the outdoors. All of the
sounds of the outdoors take me back.
I can still
see him smile when he showed me the Impatiens balsamina wildflower. My
face must have showed astonishment and awe when
he had me touch that
orange odd looking flower . I can remember him making sure that I was
really close so I could see the flower and the pod area exploded and
shot seeds raining down on me. I can not go by a Touch Me Not flower in
the fall without getting close to it and to see my father's smile each
time I touch those magical flowers.
children are bitter and lose their path when their father or mother die
when they are young. I chose to embrace and remember all of the wonders
of the outdoors and see my father in each outing in the wildflowers and
every aspect of the outdoors in my own and very private Brigadoon.