Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Academy -- Part I

There were worms on the tips of every cob of corn. Ten minutes after my parents drove away, I was assigned the task of husking corn. I stood outside where tables had been set up in a row so that workers could prepare the corn for freezing. There was a large bin of fresh corn on my right and I grabbed a cob and peeled back the husks to expose the plump yellow kernels. But the very tips were underdeveloped and the home of plump green worms. I had the choice of chopping off the tips with a large knife, machete-style, or thwacking the tips on the corner of the table. I then passed the peeled, de-tipped and de-wormed cob to the girl on my left whose job was to slice the kernels off the cob. She looked at me, friendly, smiling with crooked teeth, hands slimy with corn. She wore a blouse, a long denim skirt, and her sneakers were brown with dirt. I didn't know her and couldn't quite smile back.

Peel, thwack, peel, thwack. My wussy girl hands, used of scholarly pursuits such as reading and writing, became red and sore. I knew no one around me. Even the geography was foreign – dust, alfalfa, sage brush, and tumble weeds – it was if I had fallen off a plane over an alien planet. How did this happen?


I was born in Medford, Oregon, home of the llama tours, joining my family that consisted of Mom, Dad and sister Mia who is almost six years older and viewed me with suspicion. About a year later we moved to Costa Rica, my mother’s homeland. Dad attended the university for a degree in theology, Mom was working hard taking care of us girls, and I was busy eating anything I could get my fat little hands on. I started walking at seven months and was into toddler exploration, the extreme version. There wasn’t a crib from which I couldn’t escape. There wasn’t a closed door that resisted my advances, nor a kitchen cabinet I couldn't scale.

One day, my grandfather walked in from a day working on the tropical ranch and removed his muddy shoes by the door. Intrigued by the caked mud, I hurried over. Apparently one brown morsel looked promising and so I did what any one year old would do (if they were me). I ate it. My mother rushed over to try to stop me, but she was dealing with Sherry the Extreme Baby. She couldn’t have pried the dirt out of my mouth with the Jaws of Life.

Tropical dirt is, naturally, chock full of microscopic life, most totally unknown in North America. Within 24 hours I developed a very high fever. I was taken to the hospital and many tests were run over the next few weeks, finally deciding I had a parasite. After a couple weeks my kidneys started shutting down, so my parents decided to take me back to the States where I finally recovered.

To be continued...


At Thursday, April 06, 2006 2:07:00 PM, Anonymous lawbrat said...

Your parents must have been sick with worry about their little baby!

I walked at 7 months also. I guess its no so common. My baby doc didnt believe my parents. They brought me in, and let me loose. He was shocked, and took me bare butt naked into the waiting room- I was getting some shots or weighed, or something- and put me on the floor to show everyone.
I knew there was a reason I like you, we're early walkers togehter!!

My oldest started walking at 9 months- getting out of the crib before he could walk- and when Hunter didnt walk until 11 months I thought something was wrong. It wasent.

The corn, with the worms- I so couldnt handle that. Kudos to you girlfriend!

At Thursday, April 06, 2006 9:06:00 PM, Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I found your blog via Lawbrat. It is excellent! Thank you.

At Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

lawbrat: we were twins, separated at birth! Yeah, 7 months is pretty weird. I'm quite sure I used up ALL my energy before two. The twins didn't walk until 11 months either, and I was concerned that something was wrong, too!

Turns out our kids are the normal ones, but their mothers, well....

sometimes saintly nick: I've never had the pleasure of a comment from Kris Kringle himself. Welcome!


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