A bright orange card reading, 'Remember to SIGN IN each and every time you use a lab computer!' is taped on a worn out folder on the right side of the little booth, the rule long since has been followed. It overflows with papers from different classes, and is decorated with small marks and such that weren't there at the beginning of the year. On the left is another small paper, white, and covered with ink and lead. A Macmillan Dictionary for Students lay on the shelf above the Dell computer, untouched from day one. This is Station # 4; the epitome of all I've grown to know over the school year. Usually second period, rarely third, normally plus period, and always fourth and sixth period are spent in this booth I've come to call my third or fourth home. If it's writing, playing helpful games, going through footage, fixing photos, putting together yearbook pages, reading, or correcting papers, I do it all on the fourth computer in a room filled with twenty or so. Also in this booth pushed up against many others is a shelf underneath the main desk; a lovely footstool. On many occasions I kick off my shoes, rest my feet on the shelf, lean back in the blue roller chair, and not do what I should do, but that could include thinking of what to write next, what the answer could possibly be, or how my neck hurts and I really need a break.
From Graphics class, one of the periods where I spend the entire time glued to the computer screen, I have learned one thing: Blink. I remember last year walking into the computer lab going to get Sami, my sister who was working on a yearbook page. Taped in her little booth was a brightly colored, all caps sign which read, 'BLINK!' I never understood what it meant until I found myself intently staring at pictures and trying to erase the background. Then I would remember to blink, but it would be too late and tears would leak out my eyes.
Station # 4 has caused me mixed feelings. I've cried over it, I've thanked it, I've even wanted to hurt it, but with emotions pushed aside, I still spend at least half of my day staring into a computer screen. I'll have to say that I will miss my little booth over the summer, and maybe next year I'll get to work at that same space, but with fewer periods in the lab.
How scary can it be? My feet are just strapped into some awkward contraption and I’m unsure of what I’m doing. No, wait, that’s not how it started. It was, “How embarrassing can this be?” Sitting in the back of the dirty Suburban, crouched over behind the front seat, my three sisters and I were trying to stifle our laughter as my mom unrolled the window. We didn’t know what we were doing; we had lost dad, and the bellboy strolled up to the window as if strange families with hysterical children were a normal sight. I ducked down before he reached the window. When we finally discovered what we were doing, after we found dad, we began to unload all our things and pile them in the lobby. Someone stole our car.
Our trip to Alyeska was just beginning.
So where was I? Oh yes, the scary part. That was after the lessons, the helmets, and the ski lift. They say, “Practice makes perfect,” and, yes, eventually it does. In my case, practice involves unsuccessfully going through powder, somehow landing backwards, crossing my skis in the most awkward way, losing one ski but still going and having to fall over to stop, several face plants, and oh yes, going to the top of the mountain. I think I’ve suffered from deep humiliation, but it was all worth it when I got off the ski lift on the peak and almost fell over (My toes crossed.) I began the descent downward. Out of four trips to the peak, several here and there on the mountain, I can’t say how many times I’ve fallen over, lost a ski and/or my hat. But I made it to the bottom! And I’ve improved so much I wouldn’t mind going again…
“Today was an o-kay day. But I found another enemy. Alexis. She’s so bossy and temperamental. Grouchy. Definitely grouchy. I sit by her in school. I am sooo tempted to move my desk.” –My journal entry: 1/30/2007.
Wherever you find me, there you will most likely find Alexis Brown, but as you can see that wasn’t always true. That’s right; I used to despise my best friend. She gave me competition in school and sports, making me actually strive to be on top, or close to. I frequently thought of her as a show-off, like the day in 5th grade we won gum for math timings. She had placed the end of her piece in her mouth and began chasing it with each bite like it was really trying to escape. The whole class laughed, but I just stared and rolled my eyes.
I have looked over previous journal entries from 4th through 6th grade and found comments I have said about Alexis that make me die of laughter now. These entries include her being snobby, bratty, a show-off, and mean. They have also included Alexis calling me names that weren’t actually as bad as I thought they were back then. Over the years I have grown to love all her idiosyncrasies, her blonde moments, and just her in general. If there is ever a rough time like what we experienced when she first moved here, we always seem to work it out. We have become inseparable best friends.
Remember watching intense high school hockey games and noticing rambunctious kids either sneaking or sprinting around in the woods? Or maybe you recall that it was once you? I do, and yes, I was one of them. As junior high tumbled past, I quickly realized that soon I would no longer throw snowballs at immature boys, but would instead be pummeled myself with dull skates and too small of gear on to “protect” me. Eighth grade year I said goodbye to soaked snow pants and gloves, awesome forts, and boys who flirted with snowballs, but I never forgot the hilarious memories I made.
For starters, and in no particular order, I remember my most remarkable fort. During a hockey game Kristi, Tessa, Alexis, and I were trying to find a hideout where the boys wouldn’t spot us. Someone scouted out a fallen tree a little ways behind the elementary hockey shed. We made two doors, cleaned out the inside, laid tree branches on the outside, and covered it all with snow. It was perfect and cozy, and what we thought was camouflaged. We later discovered that it wasn’t. I recall walking away from our fort, memorizing the path so we could always find our fallen spruce, and seeing a broken chair in a tree. We were confused but continued walking. Later, we made our way back, passing the chair suspended in the willow tree, and came upon our fort. I remember how our eyes widened and our mouths fell agape. “The boy’s” was all we could think to say, for the coolest fort was destroyed. I have yet to find out who exactly did it.
Another distinct memory is one that has a few different versions. Starting with the correct one, or otherwise named, mine. After the buzzer rang signaling the end of a period, I walked behind the guest hockey shed only to be unexpectedly attacked by Riley. He chucked a stick at me, and his aim was true for it hit me in the face. My wound began to bleed and before I knew it, Alexis jumped out of nowhere, knocked him down, and gave him a white wash. He ran off crying. According to Riley, I threw a snowball at him first and he threw a “little twig” back. Alexis did white wash him, but supposedly he didn’t run off crying, if you can believe that.
As I mentioned before, in eighth grade I began to look forward to high school hockey games, but for a whole different reason than before. I watched almost every hockey game, but from a different perspective than everyone else. Alexis and I took refuge in a tree, with the perfect view of the rink, minus one corner. We snapped off branches, broke twigs, and found a different way to enjoy watching hockey. I remember hiding from people we didn’t want to hang out with, as typical junior high kids would. I also recall the time when Riley and Trayl tried to take our tree over, but from the beginning that didn’t bode well for them.
Before I knew it, 9th grade slammed into me at full force taking me by complete surprise. Or was that an overlarge hockey player? I don’t remember. But along with high school comes high school hockey. Along with high school hockey comes bruises, pain, and sore muscles. Although I can tell you now that all the comments of being a wimp was well worth it, for I survived my first high-school hockey season with four goals, numerous assists, and amazingly, no penalties. I hadn’t realized the importance of going to State after play-offs until now, especially since Kenny Lake hasn’t gone in four years. I am looking forward to next year, hoping Kenny Lake has a team. I’ll miss this year’s seniors and would welcome the upcoming freshman, but unfortunately there won’t be any. Lucky me, I’ll get two years of doing everything the rest of the team is too lazy to do, or Alexis and I will just make Riley and Trayl do everything.
I don’t remember when, nor do I remember why, but I do recall who, where, and what. Tessa and Alexis were at my house having a sleepover, but the thought of staying home didn’t stay that way for long. We had played a variety of games, ate junk food, and told jokes. That’s when Kristi, my sister, devised a plan. Everyone should know that a plan involving snow machine goggles means serious business, or in our case, a serious scare.
We piled into the Camry and blasted music, all the way to the end of our driveway where we got out into the darkness and ran a quarter mile to the Doty’s. We crawled quietly up to the big window behind Kailey, Kegan, and Mariah where they were watching a movie. We all crowded around, our eyes big and faces scary, waiting for them to notice us. Only when Alexis rubbed her finger on the glass pane did they see us. Mariah saw us first and jumped up screaming. Kailey freaked out and buried her face in a pillow, while Kegan sprang up, frightened partly from Mariah’s reaction, and threw his coat down as soon as he saw it was us. Laughing hysterically, we all piled into the Doty’s home, ecstatic that our plan had worked. After awhile we said our goodbyes and headed out, but then Mariah came out holding a BB gun. We all screamed and hid for cover. She assured us it wasn’t loaded, even pointed it in a different direction and fired. POW!
If this story is thought to be a lie, perhaps everyone can see past the deception of an easy, clean life and marvel about the excitement of chasing cows. In any case, they say in the community that…’
This is the introduction to “The Pearl” by John Steinbeck, although I have reworded it to fit into my own epic adventure, an adventure that mostly dealt with cows. I also have to specify that it was more than one story, more than one late night, and more than one foot accidentally stepping into a stray cow pie. Specific details are too hard to go into, because if I do, I may never get out. I could start with the late night phone calls, Grandpa on the other end explaining that the cows had escaped, again. I would continue with the pajamas, rubber boots, and flashlights, with the wandering around the homestead looking for any random cows strolling about. Then I would almost end with Grandpa telling us that he wanted to weigh the cows the next day, and how we reluctantly agreed to the long hours, killer mosquitoes, and stubborn cows. And the conclusion; crawling into bed with the fragrance of cows filling your nose. It’s all part of life living on a homestead, and thankfully, the Lightwoods no longer own any cows.
‘In the community they occasionally tell the story of the great cow chase – how they were caught and how they escaped yet again. They tell of the Knutson family, Mom, Dad, Adrina, Sami, Kristi, and Deanna, and of the owners of the cows, Grandma and Grandpa Lightwood. And because these hilarious stories about late night ventures is a topic rarely talked about, it has always been laughed at whenever it comes up in most conversations about the homestead. But as the story takes place on an old farm, there are only ancient and new things, late and early things, clean and cow-pie covered things, and no in-between anywhere but the kitchen sink.
Music filled the Camry’s speakers, the exotic rhythm beating through our ears and the lyrics escaping from our mouths. Adrina rotated the steering wheel to the left after we slowed and veered off the road, arriving at a complete rest. The rocking melody stopped short as her fingers entwined around the silver and black key, twisting it to turn off the car. Adrina and I opened the car doors, and ambled out into the road on a cloudy, yet warm and welcoming afternoon in worn flip flops, play jeans, and comfy t-shirts.
We deposited our flip flops at the base of the steep, sandy hill; our legs dashing up like the beat of our hearts. But as our hearts’ rhythm increased, the pace of our legs decreased – we managed to make it halfway up when our summer-tanned legs and our breath gave out.
Prior to these events, an idea had managed to worm its way into Adrina’s complex brain, one of the ideas that essentially sparked our entire journey. It was a trivial idea, very insignificant and beside the point, but as reality fell in place, as did her idea to write, “ALIENS LANDED HERE!” in the sand. At that moment it seemed enjoyable and amusing, but now it appears relatively ridiculous. We accomplished it though, writing bold letters that would later disappear from the raging wind.
As minutes passed by, our unfinished ambition returned to our minds as our eyes turned toward the peak of the sandy slope. “Let’s go.” We raced, tripped, sprinted, climbed, and stumbled up the hill, until finally, finally our wavering legs had run their course, and we warily reached the top. Our chests heaved for our lack of summer workouts had proved their point. We settled down on the soft grains, sealing our eyes to prevent the sand that swept up with every sudden gust. The instances where we could crack open our eyes and steal a peak out into nature’s beauty were spectacular.
I clenched my hand around the sand and tossed it into the powerful wind. “Look,” said Adrina. “You made the wind dance.” And I did it again for that moment had passed far too fast.
I relaxed atop a sandy hill, the neutral hues of grain sifting through my grungy fingers, and my older sister perched to my right, both our eyes taking in the natural and spectacular beauty. The wind rushed and swirled, whipping through our hair and tossing it wildly.
Deanna Knutson takes you to her home for a Thanksgiving celebration full of good food and good times.
Now there are no particular rules, only that you have to eat something every hour. School teachers are not allowed to keep students from eating; they could even participate themselves. And, no, breath mints and gum do not count.
Scoff, Slop, ‘n Swallow day is significant and special to me because it is my day, that’s right; I created it. I have yet to experience the wondrous feeling of eating each hour with no teacher or anything to get in my way, though. And since the thought, ‘I’m hungry’ is on my mind most often, this day is going to be great.
I asked my dad what he thought of eating each hour for a whole day, and his response was, “Popcorn. Either that or the Christmas sugar cookies,” but he definitely thought he could do it.
As I said in the first paragraph, get out of the closet all you who are hungry and eat! Some people out in the world can’t eat, not because they don’t even have a closet, but because they don’t have food. Remember reading about wildfires and hearing about tornados, and all the kids in foreign countries starving? Think of all the children and families who don’t have a home; they have no clothes but the ones on their back; they have no money, and they have no food. While we’re eating all day, some people aren’t eating anything in a day, maybe even more than a day. We can still eat all day, but do something about those who can’t eat – give money to a charity, donate food to food shelters, and more.
So on December 8, let’s eat. And let’s remember and do something about those who can’t.
~Do you ever wonder who tastes dog food when it has a “new and improved” flavor?
December 8 is a day that is passed by living the normal routine, not realizing its significance. But what exactly happens during this time? Eating. That’s right, get out of the closet all you who are hungry and eat! But you may say that you eat each day anyways; well this is no ordinary eating day. Instead of three meals, you have one gigantic meal – throughout the entire sunrise to sunset. Actually, whenever you get up, considering the measly amount of hours the sun is up in an Alaskan winter.
The telephone sitting atop a counter filled with random papers, mail, dirty cups, hair-ties, necklaces, earrings, hand sanitizer, duct tape, leftover food, books, homework, forgotten crafts, pencils, pliers, etc… rings a melodious tune. Once it is found, Caller ID reads ‘Unknown name, Unknown number.’
“Deanna, answer it,” says Kristi.
I pick up the phone and clear my throat.
Yes, I said ‘hola.’ For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s Spanish for hello. ‘Why Spanish?’ you may ask. The answer is simple, but before I tell you, see how the person on the other line responded.
“Hello, may I speak to Anthony or Juliana Nootson?”
Did you figure it out? In our house you never give a parent the phone if someone can’t pronounce our last name. It’s a rule of survival, otherwise, when they ask for money, you’ll get in trouble.
A long pause, “Okay, thank you,” And the line is dead.
I hang up the phone with a smile on my face and recap what happened to my sister, Kristi. We laugh and joke, although I was disappointed I wasn’t able to talk like I did last time…
“Yes, may I speak to Anthony or Juliana Nootson?”
“Splutenta eh shor can ble nostic tro senta figmeb?”
Now, I can’t say that’s exactly what I said; in fact I know that’s not what I said. But it’ll work.
“JUMENDI PAN SO MANI LOKENDA TRUMENZA E PLUTONTEY SEE MANDIGRINALDE!!!!!!!!”
So you’re reading this now, thinking, ‘Oh, that girl!’ I know, I know, although I really can’t regret doing that because it was extremely fun. Next time though, I’ll be sure to be nicer.
Oh, but there was this other time. I, personally, think it’s the best.
Since I can’t really speak Spanish I will tell this story with little dialogue. Kristi and I were together, and the phone rang. ‘Unknown name, Unknown number.’ Kristi once again asked me to answer it, and I once again agreed. No rude gibberish this time, so I began with ‘hola.’ When the man asked for my parents in my unpronounceable last name, I replied with ‘No comprenda.’ There was a pause for a moment and I assumed he hung up, but just as I was about to, there was a weird noise on the other end of the line. He was speaking Spanish back to me! I had no clue what to do, but that’s the good thing about phones: you can hang up on people.
So an unpronounceable last name allows you to know when to give your parents the phone, and if you don’t have to, you can have some fun.
Do you ever wonder what happens if we are scared half to death twice?