Pole Vaulting Into A Dog Pen
My mom was supposed to be home. It was late fall, 1973. I was in kindergarten and had just turned five a month before. It was cold and rainy and I was supposed to ride the bus to babysitter.
My mom had told me that if it rained she wouldn’t go to work. She worked at Bradley’s Farm Store. I can still remember the smells of the feed and seed that was traded there. I remember going there on Saturday morning with my dad, watching him haggle over pocket knives and drink six-ounce Cokes in real glass bottles.
It rained that day, so I rode the school bus home. I was confused and bewildered that she wasn’t there. The door to the house was also locked, which was strange for 1973, especially for where we lived. We lived miles away from the nearest neighbor, so walking there was not an option.
Finally, I walked to our dog pen. Inside were my two beagles, Rusty and Blackie. I imagine you can guess what color they were by their names. Obviously I was creative when it came to naming by pets.
That’s when I got the bright idea of getting in the pen with them to stay warm. By this time, it was around 5 p.m., and it was getting cooler. I just had one problem. I couldn’t get the pen opened. I’m not sure if I cried or not, but I know I was becoming a bit distraught.
I found a metal pole that was lying around and decided to pole vault into the pen. I had seen pole vaulting during the 1972 Summer Olympics or on Wide World of Sports. I knew enough that it was possible, if not probable.
I would love to say that I was able to clear the top of the pen and land within its confines, but that would be a lie. Come to find out, a metal pole does not have the flexibility of pole used for vaulting. I know that I crashed into the side of the pen and that was that. Around 6 p.m., my parents found me sitting on the stoop that led from the carport into the house. They were frightened since I wasn’t at the sitter’s like they thought I would be.
What does that have to do with anything today? How does it help any of us, other that to clearly communicate our intentions to our small children?
When we are children we are extremely creative. I came up with, at the age of five, a way to stay warm. I devised a plan on how to get inside a dog pen by pole vaulting. I was a lot smarter at age five than perhaps at any other time in my life. Why?
I believed. I had faith. I knew it would all work out. I took risks.
Maybe we need a little bit of that in our lives today. To believe the unbelievable. To have faith, when there is nothing to see. To take risks in the face of failure and danger.
Maybe we need to pole vault into a dog pen.
Are you as creative as a child? Do yo believe the unbelievable? Do you have faith in what you cannot see? Do you take risks?