True or false: Shy or never shy? by Raymond Maher
Raymond Maher, from Melville Saskatchewan, takes Lawrence Hill's first writing challenge and tells us one tall tale and one true story.
Which one do you believe: is he the shy gullible kid who got fooled on his first day of school or a brat who taunted the priest at church? Let us know in the comments below!
UPDATE: It turns out that Raymond Maher was shy and naïve.
Naïve and Shy
Was it because I was the last born child in our family, that, I came into the world abnormal? My rowdy and rambunctious brothers had little patience, for me, their littlest brother. I was a shy and quiet kid, who was clueless to the tricks that my brothers and others might play on me.
My brothers, ranging from three to ten years older than me, could do everything better than myself. I was a nuisance, their tag-along. Once they discovered I was afraid of squawking, wing flapping hens they would catch hens and chase me with them. They called me a chicken meaning a pathetic little coward for running.
My first day of school, I messed up. I went to school when there were no kindergartens. It was a single-room country school of about thirty students. I was one of three grade one pupils. That first day of school, the teacher dismissed the grade ones earlier than the rest of the students. A kid name Joe, one of my fellow grade one classmates, told me it was time to go home. I went.
My mom yelled at me. My brothers said I was a dimwit because Joe didn’t go home - just me! I didn’t know that Joe had already spent a year in grade one. I didn’t know he laughed as I walked home. My teacher couldn’t believe I was that naïve. She didn’t trust me. She was sure I would run home again. I never did. She did not understand that I was not normal. I had not been born rowdy, rambunctious and eager to play tricks on others. I lacked those talents.
My family name is Irish, and every lad and lass in our family knew how to give, as good as, they got. I never understood the word shy. The Lord gave me a tongue to speak up with, and my fists to hammer a point home. There were four of us brothers and the pecking order was maintained by force. Evan as the youngest brother, I found ways to win even though there was an age disadvantage against me. We were the rowdy, rambunctious, and obnoxious brothers.
Our dad having no brothers, himself, never mastered the knack of discipline. He relied on his wife, our forceful mother, to keep us in order. She was very capable but not at church on Sundays, as she did not attend church with us. She made sure that we were up and ready for Mass but left us to Dad’s care there.
Mable was the oldest in our family, and there was also another sister Kate who was the third oldest of the bunch of us. Our dad expected miracles from his two daughters at church. He always took a back pew and sent us boys, farther ahead in the church. Ahead of him and out of his sight, we were in charge of Mable and Kate.
One Sunday. ‘Mean Mable,’ and ‘I’m going-to-kill-you Kate,’ lost control of us lads. The priest came down the church aisle waving a smoky incense burner. One of us boys said loudly, “That stinks.” We all proceeded to hold our noses and discuss how badly it smelt. Adults in the pews, in front of us and behind us, poked us. They whispered that we needed to behave in church. Not being shy we stuck our tongues out at them and stayed holding our noses.
The priest had a talk with dad after Mass, and dad threatened us with a boot in the seat, if we didn’t behave in church. It resulted in little noticeable change in our behavior. There were several years when we prided ourselves on being little brats. We were never shy about it.