A Day In The Life

The Little Girl Who Cried Coyote When I was in fi…
September 24, 2006, 4:59 am
Filed under: My Life

The Little Girl Who Cried Coyote

When I was in first grade, we had a time at the end of each day when we could stand in front of the class and share something about our lives with the rest of the class. Each day a few students stood and told their stories so that the entire class had had a turn by the time the weekend rolled around. We all told about visiting relatives, games we had played, birthday parties and all the other activities and events that six year olds found exciting in the early 60’s. I guess you could call it “Show and Tell” except I honestly don’t remember any of us bringing many items to school to “show”.

One particular day as I sat listening to the various life events of my classmates, I decided to liven things up a bit when it was my turn to talk later in the week.

I had often laid in bed at night and listened to coyotes howl up and down the creek that ran through our farm. The coyotes were particularly vocal when the lonely sound of a train whistle echoed through the valley we lived in. I had also listened to stories my mom told about learning to shoot a rifle when she was a girl. It is also important to know that my dad had recently bought me my first horse and that we had a small herd of cattle on the farm. Add all of these facts together and throw in a few pieces of first grader fiction that blossomed in my fertile imagination and you have my story.

When it was finally my turn to stand in front of the class, I told a wild story about coyotes invading our farm and chasing our cows. My mother was the heroine who quickly saddled my horse, jumped on his back and galloped across the fields with rifle in hand to save the poor bovines. I think Mom must have shot about a dozen of those coyotes as I watched the entire scene unfold from our front porch. Her marksmanship was amazing. I’m sure she held the reins in her teeth a la Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. In fact, the producers of that movie probably got the idea for that scene from my first grade story. Anyway, my story was a big hit.

Not too long after I got home from school that day, the phone began ringing. Most of my classmates lived on little farms like ours and when their parents heard that a mangy crew of coyotes were threatening our farm, they became alarmed. I listened to Mom for a few seconds of the first phone call then I wisely slunk from the house to amuse myself outdoors. After the second or third phone call, my mom yelled out the front door telling me to get in the house. My heart was heavy as I trudged in to accept my fate.

I don’t remember everything my mom said. The general gist of it was that it was fine to use my imagination to tell stories, but that I should not pass fiction off as the truth. I remember hearing the words “lies” and “honesty” alot in the lecture I received. I also remember being banished to my bedroom to sit on my bed and think about what I had done until Daddy got home. It was long hour filled with dread. I had caused people to be afraid and to worry. I knew how that felt because I was afraid and worrying myself at this point in time.

Daddy talked to me again about the difference between fact and fiction. I think he pretty much repeated what Mom had said. From an adult perspecitive, I am so thankful that my parents didn’t try to curb my imagination. They both supported my creative story telling ability. I learned an important lesson about how one voice can influence many lives. It is a lesson I still remember today and that’s the truth.


13 Comments so far
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Last saturday when I left at 5 am. to head to california, I saw a coyote running down the side of the road. Didn’t act slinky or scared at all.
I also so a cottontail, a jackrabbit, two elk, turkey vultures, ducks, But not all at once.

I was pencil doodling tonight, so I have a new and probably short lived avatar.

Comment by Pamela

You really tell great stories from your life. You’ve got a way of leading the reader into unexpected suspense. I’m glad you’re parents didn’t curb your imagination either. I really enjoy coming to your blog to read the vignettes of your past.

Comment by Angelina

Good thing they didn’t beat your imagination out of you, I don’t think blogging could exist without a bit of creative licence.

Comment by willowtree

You tell a good story – I’m glad your parents didn’t stifle your imagination!!!!!

When I was in 1st grade and had forgotten something for sharing, I reached into my pants pocket, pulled out a piece of string and said, “This is a string my Aunt Myrtle gave me.” (Aunt Myrtle was my grandmother’s sister).

Comment by Karmyn R

This story made me giggle. It reminded me of the stories I made up as a kid – although, the repurcussions from my stories were not quite as significant as yours.

For a long time, I had a scar on one of my arms (it’s hardly noticable now), and I would tell my friends that a chipmunk bit me! Yeah, those vicious chipmunks – you gotta look out for them. Never know when one of them’s gonna come up and chew your arm off. Sheesh.

Comment by Susan in va

Wonderful story and great parents! They must have seen something wonderful in you even then.

Comment by gawilli

How funny!! You are a natural born entertainer!

Comment by C.

I especially like the picture and that you could “prove your point.”
Who knows? Coyotes may really exist. Thank goodness for your imagination.

Comment by Swampwitch

Oh the memories about a “Show and Tell”. . .My parents had a pin from Washington D.C. and I thought that my Aunt and Uncle that live in Washington state had given it them so that’s what I said. . .LOL

Comment by Shauna

nothing profound to say, I just loved the story. I can picture you in your class…

Comment by CPA Mom

The mental picture that the reins in the mouth conjures is priceless – what a great story – thanks for sharing. I needed a pick-me-up tonight šŸ™‚

Comment by ElleCharlie

Great story. I’m glad your parents honored your creativity.

Now if this had happened to me, my dad would have had a hard time doing what your parents did. He was always spinning a yarn. It would have the pot calling the kettle black.

Comment by willi

Great story! I think everyone has to experience something close to that in order to understand the consequences to lying.

Comment by M J

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