December 5th…“IN YOUR YOUNG FARM DAYS, DID YOU EVER BARRAGE YOUR PARENTS WITH A MILLION QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE?”
Welling up within the confines of a 5 year old little boy brain are about a bazillion questions about life. I was no exception to that rule. With my motor mouth in high gear, I would besiege Mom and Dad with so many inquiries that I’m sure they often sought refuge somewhere quiet so that their ears could cool down from the hot wind coming from the orifice below my nose. As I reflect back to those dear days of yore, I smilingly remember my dear parent’s various facial responses to those innocent little boy questions. Sometimes, I’d see a look of normality in their visage, and yet, sometimes, I could sense that they were stifling an outright laugh as to the ludicrous nature of a blushing subject that I had blindly inquired about.
Any question, when spoken from the logic of a boy only tall enough to gaze into an adult’s bellybutton, might have seemed strange and even hilarious to an adult. But, to me, I felt each search for an answer was truly viable, from a little kid’s world point of view, that is.
“Mom, why doesn’t Grandma Amanda have more babies?”, I asked one day. Without a doubt, my Grandma Amanda “Rogness” Sletten was a real sweetheart! And so, since she had done such a fine job of giving birth to MY mother, in my childish mind, I figured she should just keep on making more babies, right? Mom’s eyes opened wide with a mild shock on THAT question. Mother, in her best and proper way, tried to clue my little empty-headed brain in as to why the answer to that question was a “no”. Even though Mom tried to answer that delicate question the best she could, I still scratched my head as to why not?
To my father, Russell, one day in the barn, I approached with another life question inquiry. “Hey Dad? Why don’t Grandma and Grandpa run?” For me, with life energy bursting out of every corpuscle of this young boy’s body, I ran everywhere. Heck, I even ran across our Living Room when it was time to change the television channel (no remotes in those days). Dear Dad responded that it was something called “getting old”, and that my grandparent’s bodies didn’t work as well as they used to. Again, that logical adult response went right over the top of this little pygmy brain as far as comprehending what “old” was. I lived inside a brand new body that could bend, bounce and beat anybody in a foot race at the drop of a hat. O.k., anybody my size, at least 😉
Later, in my teenage years, I actually did see my Grandpa Clarence Sletten really RUN!!! It was Independence Day and our clan was gathered at one of our extended family’s homes to celebrate our nation’s birthday. When the waning shadows of evening warranted, out came the fireworks for all to enjoy. Someone lit a spinning firework called a “Ground Bloomer”. In theory, when the fuse ignited the charges, it was supposed to spin and rise straight up into the air. But NOT on this occasion. That devilish whizbang thingy lifted off the ground and made a beeline right for Grandpa Clarence. In less than a blink, that tall, lanky, way over 70 year old body of his took off like a streak to get out of harm’s way. We all howled with laughter that gramps still had it in him to move fast when survival necessitated it. Clarence still had some ZIP in him, after all!!!
To this day, there are still a bazillion questions being asked by this ever-inquiring Norwegian Farmer’s Son.