DON’T PLAY IN THE SAWDUST PILE We spent many summers and holidays in Deland with our relatives who happened to live near a sawmill. Back in those days, sawmills would just pile up sawdust from their cuttings that could reach over one hundred feet high and just as wide. Our aunt and uncle would always warn us not to play near the sawdust pile that was just beyond their backyard fence were the garages and chicken coops were. They said that we could sink down into the sawdust and suffocate and that it had happened to other children before. Remember now, we loved to have new challenges and adventures and we thought we were infallible! So – we felt that we had to sneak over to the pile nearly every time we visited them. This went on until we started high school. Each time we went, we would cautiously climb up toward the top just to see if we would actually “sink” into the sawdust. Fortunately, we didn’t. This, in turn, would give us the courage that can only come from ignorance to try something new. Instead of just climbing up the soft, collapsing sawdust and then climbing down, we would try doing a “log roll” down to the bottom, or jump as far out as we could so that we could sink a few feet into the saw dust, or play “king of the mountain”. It was great fun – partially just because of the opportunity to do something that we couldn’t do in Cocoa and, perhaps, partially to see if we could survive after the stern warnings from parents. Either way, we were probably fortunate again that we didn’t harm ourselves. To be honest, though, we knew that most others not as accustomed to the type of physical challenges as we were could have seriously hurt themselves.
I’m not sure what we learned from “the saw dust pile”. Maybe it was the belief that we could survive much more than our elders thought we could or maybe made us unrealistically brave. Either way, the most important thing we learned – aside from the fact that the outdoors offers endless challenges – is that our parents always meant well and did the right thing in warning us. I’ve always been appreciative of having parents and relatives who cared for us. Are you? Have you done stupid and dangerous things that you were warned against doing? If so, did your parents catch you and punish you? We DID usually get caught – after all, you can’t get all the sawdust out of your hair and clothes. The emotional hurt due to their anger and disappointment in us was greater than the fear of getting spanked. We respected them for their constant warnings – and for their patience in dealing with us when we didn’t follow their advice. Our greatest lesson in life had to deal with the consequences of our actions. What are some of the lessons you have learned in life?