Fireworks, Muu Muus, and Red Dirt Road

This is my second short creative writing piece.  I must rewrite my first.  It is lost in my old computer that crashed. This will be the part of a series I am calling “Red Dirt Roads”. As you grow up and look back at your childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, it can bring you smiles, anger, and sadness. One thing to remember is to not get lost in the anger or sadness. Looking back moving from the city to the country was my parent’s choice.  As a child we did not understand their reasoning.  As an adult I am thankful for that place of my childhood.  We created great memories and sometimes not great memories.  But this is who I am today.

Living with my Granny for five years while our house was being built taught me a work ethic and a love of the Lord.  I shared a bedroom with my brother and sister.  It was tight, literally.  There was room to walk around a double bed and a twin bed.  This series will describe the childhood adventures that I treasure and crack up laughing about.  It makes the part of sadness bearable.  Learning self-acceptance and to just Be is part of my empty nest journey.

I have been going 90 miles an hour for as long as I can remember. Always planning, working, doing and trying to improve.  Improve what? Appearance? Weight? Eyebrows? Hair?  My children? My house? My role as a wife? Neighbor? Friend? Or family? Learning to say NO. I have always been a fixer and care taker.  Granny was my rock and caretaker growing up. To sit and just be still is the hardest thing I have ever done. The being still creates the presence of knowing my thoughts and accepting them.  Knowing happiness is temporary and knowing my joy is permanent with my faith in the Lord.

Robert Holden, PHD writes and speaks about this in SHIFT HAPPENS! “People who follow their joy discover a depth of creativity and talent that inspires the world.”  I wrote the passage below, Firecrackers, Muu Muus and Red Dirt Roads. I then came back and wrote the introduction to what I was doing.  Right here is where I stopped.  I had to get dressed for church. Not that I had to go.  I could have kept working on my paper and listened to my favorite pod cast.   Going to church does not make you “more Christian” or “get you to heaven”.  To me it helps me grow my relationship with God and strengthen my faith.  The word of choice I have been using since I left church has been crazy.  CRAZY! Prophetic! Per the service and Kenny.

I have been 4 times to this new church. I did not know the guest speaker today, nor the preacher.  During the end of the service I went down to the alter for the first time, since I prayed for my mom, 5 years ago.  My time at the alter for mom is a testimonial, all by itself.   I have prayed over and with many. This time was for me.  I stood there, and thoughts kept popping in my head. I am ready to go sit down. I didn’t want to stand in the line in front of everyone.  He is not ashamed of you, why are you ashamed or embarrassed of Him? Ugh this going to take forever. There were a lot of people ahead of me. Then peace, you have to eternity.  He loves you.  He is your Joy.  He is your calmness.  You will stand here.

My turn.  He laid his hands on the side of my head.  Prayed.  Took my hands and spoke.  His words were simple.  You must write.  Write it down. Write it down. Write it down they need to hear this. Just write. Just write. That’s all I have for you.  Tears rolled down my cheeks.  Not sadness more of a relief.  God affirming his plans for me. Knowing I am not jumping into something that He is not a part of.  So here we are.  This is where the stories will start. Some you will love.  Others you may hate. The writing is not professional.  It comes from my heart, my faith and memories.

xo Cheryl

          Fireworks, Muu Muus, and Red Dirt Roads 

        The three-bedroom, white wooden house-sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road.  You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors.  Wooden walls with peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling.  The living room and dining rooms were in the middle of the house.  The kitchen and mom and dad’s bedroom were off to the right.  The bathroom, granny’s room and our bedroom were off to the left. A John deer heater sat in the living room as you entered the house, with an AC window unit in the dining room.

This wooden house that sat on cinder blocks was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees. The cedar trees were so large their limbs touched the ground.  Grass did not grow under this tree. The magnificent oak trees held a tire swing.  This tire swing was held in place by a wire rope at least 20 feet up to the first branch.

Summer days were hot on the red dirt road.  The wind only blew in the tops of the trees.  If you laid still you could hear the wind dancing far above your head. Winding itself in and out of the pines and oaks.  This red dirt road was a logging road, oil field road and a short cut to another small town when the creek flooded. When log trucks drove by you knew who was courteous and who was trying to get the logs delivered quickly, by the billowing puff of red dust that rolled to our house.  This is granny’s house.  We moved here when I was entering the 4th grade.  Granny’s house was home.  The house was warm, inviting and a great place to learn indoor baseball.

        Granny’s house had a cement stoop or front porch.  The bannisters where solid cement on both sides of the steps.  Facing the house to your right, a beautiful purple hydrangea, also nothing but stickers.  Carpet stickers that could cover your foot with one step.   Sometimes there would be stinging grass growing here. This was a weed that would make a whelp on your skin and burn if you touched it. You will learn later why this is important.

        Dad worked in the city.  On one of his trips home he brought us fireworks.  Not just sparklers and black cats.  He bought the entire KIT.  Not even sure what all was in it.  He put them away and we were told don’t touch them.  We would do them later tonight.   We being my sister and brother.  I am the oldest.  My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby.  At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old. 

        This hot, dry, summer Saturday morning Granny was the only adult home.  I would say babysitting, but you really can’t call it babysitting.  We could play outside all day without checking in.  We could easily say I was in charge. Saturdays was one of my favorite days of the week.  These mornings Granny would make us iron skillet, fluffy, home-made pancakes.  Plus, it was cartoon day.    Today was like any other morning.  Granny was drinking her coffee, smoking, doing her crossword puzzle, sitting in her spot at the dinning room table, in her muu muu.  A  muu muu is a long, flowing, shapeless dress that comes in all colors, with abstract designs or flowers and birds.  The pancakes were gone, cartoons where ending and we were bored. 

        Living out in the country we did not have the luxury of calling up a neighborhood kid and walking over to have a play date.  Neighbors are 5 miles plus down the road.  So, this left us with opportunities to explore the woods, play outside (We don’t have our Atari yet) and build state of the art club houses.  We chose the exploring.  Exploring the house for the fireworks.  We found the bag of fireworks and a lighter too.  We brought the bag to the front porch and sat the bag in a nice high place on the bannister. 

We started small. 

Small being worms and smoke bombs. We placed these strategically in the front yard.  Which is mostly red dirt.   Black worms were growing in a cloud of red, green and blue smoke.  It was a beautiful site. 

We were standing there observing our creations, when brother decided to start with the firecrackers.  This little firecracker surprised us all.  It took off with a buzzing sound and launched itself as high as the house. It was jumping and buzzing. 

We realized this is not a firecracker.  This was much more exciting and less noisy.  He lights another one.  This one did the same magical buzzing, jumping dance as the first one.  Except, it landed wrong.

        This crazy jumping jack jumped right into the bag of all of our precious fireworks.!

        The sound of firecrackers exploding, sparklers spraying, and more jumping jacks taking off created a firework frenzy of the front porch. The bag fell over and hit the side of the house. 

Brother being the youngest jumped the banister.  Sister was standing on the front steps and I am trying to close the bag, not smart. 

Here came granny flying out the screen door in her muu muu.  The muu muu was blowing in the wind. Oh Lord don’t let it catch on fire.

   By this time the bag was on fire and starting on the side of the house.  With Granny yelling and sister and I crying here comes brother.  Brother remember was only 5.  He came charging in with the water hose. 

Granny grabs the hose and puts out the fire.

All is well. NO.

        This lesson taught us not to get small wispy peach tree limbs. Also, “dynamite does come in small packages”.

Whether you are talking age or size,  do not ever underestimate someone’s ability. Brother may have been the youngest, but he might be the smartest.

MMM not too sure. His feet were full of stickers.  The positive and thankfulness of this chaos- No one was hurt and Granny was always there for us.    

8 thoughts on “Fireworks, Muu Muus, and Red Dirt Road”

  1. I enjoyed this brought back memories of my childhood. Too close for comfort for me. Very moving and inspirational. Thanks looking forward to see more. Keep up the great writer.

  2. I absolutely loved this. Kind of took me back to my childhood. While reading this, I could actually visualize your Granny’s house and yard. Keep writing girl, I will be waiting to read.
    Hugs and God bless

  3. Awesome job writing. Definitely brought back memories. And, yes you have to be very careful when choosing a “limb”. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  4. Your description of that house was amazing. I felt like I was there. Except when the fireworks went off. I didn’t want to be there for that!

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