There’s a word that we don’t say in my family, I don’t even say the word in my head for fear that my mom will hear me thinking it and the next thing you know I’ll be cleaning out the chicken coop or shoveling manure. I remember a rare occasion where one of my friends came over to play. We didn’t have TV or video games but the untamed country was calling out. I was so excited and had so many lovely things planned. We’d start out the day with a good horse backing riding adventure followed by some cowboy/indian hide and seek in the hundreds of acres of forest. After a quick lunch, we would play a little rodeo by trying to ride the pigs and finishing the day by going mud jumping and washing all the grime off in the creek. Yep, it was going to be a great day. We were in the house not 10 minutes after my friend had arrived when she thoughtlessly said the word that brought fear, misery and pain to so many, “I’m bored.”
My brothers looked at her and started backing towards the door, slowly so they didn’t draw any attention to themselves. I too was slowly distancing myself from my “friend.” She was on her own, didn’t she know who my mother was, didn’t she know that when you live on a farm there are more chores than Bill Gates has dollars, didn’t she know that when she said “bored” we all would be suffering for her sins. You don’t get bored on a farm where there are hundreds of acres to explore and even more ways to break an arm. You just don’t get bored and even if you did, you don’t tell mom.
My siblings and I learned from a young age that the “B” word was bad. We could almost recover from any other word (notice I said recover, we would still get punished but we would recover) but the “B” word was more than we could take. Our carefree day would be ruined with the mention or thought of the “B” word were we would find ourselves pulling weeds from the rows of vegetables, chopping wood to build up the wood pile, picking up trash around the farm, lawn mowing (mind you, we’re not talking about a cute little lawn on a riding lawnmower, we’re talking about a 20 acre piece of property on an old push lawnmower), painting beehives, digging fence posts, clearing out brush, cutting back the man-eating blackberry bushes…I could keep going…but do you understand a little bit about why we don’t say the “B” word?
Even to this day, we don’t say that word. And one day, when we’re all parents, the first think we’ll teach our kids is when we go to grandpa’s and grandma’s not to say “I’m bored.” .....Well, maybe we’ll let our kids learn the hard way…