Thursday, January 20, 2011

HAVE YOU EVER MADE-OUT WITH A DONKEY? (It wasn't on purpose)

    Noreen, Me, and Julie in Morgantown.
          The year was 1975. The draft had ended a few years earlier. The hippie movement still existed, but was on its way out. It was a different world than we live in today. The legal drinking age was 18, high school students had in-school smoking privileges, and overall, teenagers were treated more like adults than the teens of this era.

        Julie and I were in our sophomore year of high school, well on our way to becoming adults. We thought. Her father willingly, and my parents reluctantly, (I made myself sick, refusing to get out of bed or go to school until they allowed me to go) let us hop a bus from New Jersey to West Virginia to visit Julie’s brother Roger who was attending the university there. We arrived on a Friday. Roger and his wife Noreen decided it would be great entertainment for us to spend the weekend on a farm owned by a couple of their friends.
         We all hopped into Roger’s 67’ Volvo 122, and drove for an hour or so on windy roads until we came upon a beautiful two-story farmhouse. It looked just like a Norman Rockwell picture. The house was the color of corn silk. A large white porch circled it. In the center of the porch was a picture window, with two rocking chairs strategically placed on either side. Directly across from the house was a dirt road. Roger turned there. I was excited as we drove down the hand-cleared road surrounded by an unlimited supply of trees. I couldn’t wait to see the house where we would be staying. After about a quarter mile we came to a clearing surrounded by mountainous terrain, in the center, was a tiny shack. Julie punched me in the thigh, and we shared an astonished glance.

         The ramshackle house where we would be staying was no bigger than a cracker box, had wooden crates for steps, a crooked porch, and one window in the front. Two donkeys, a couple of chickens, a goat, and a dog ran freely around the yard. I guess you could say the place bore a hint of hillbilly-like charm. Sort of. 
    Noreen and Julie standing on the porch
         After an hour or so, Julie and I finally got over the fact that there was no running water, or electricity, and, that the only bathroom on the premises was an outhouse, and we forgave Noreen and Roger, and started to have fun. 

         That evening, our hosts, a couple of hippies who were extrememly  into living off the land, brought us to the neighbor’s house to party. (The beautiful farmhouse  I noticed on the way in)  And party we did. We didn’t stop until the cows came home. Literally. We had so much fun that by the time we stumbled back to our ramshackle quarters Julie and I were singing, “Outhouse-schmouthouse who cares.”

         Our hippie hostess lit a candle, and we all crammed ourselves inside the cracker box house. Everyone was dead tired, but we had a big problem. There wasn’t enough room for all four guests to roll out a sleeping bag, so Julie and I being the youngest, were elected to camp outside. I grabbed my leopard print sleeping bag with the orange flowers and spread it out on the ground about twenty feet from the house. Julie laid her real camping style hunter green sleeping bag next to mine. Enveloped by nature, we camped out under the stars, watching them  twinkle brightly in the clear night sky.

           I inhaled a gulp of fresh mountain air. “Almost heaven.” I whispered, before I passed out.
          I awoke some time later shivering uncontrollably. I glanced over at Julie. She didn’t look cold. She was resting peacefully, snug in her real sleeping bag meant for outdoors. I inched my body closer to her until my back touched hers hoping to steal some of her body heat. But it didn’t work. Every five minutes or so, I was awoken by the sound of my chattering teeth. Finally, after what seemed like hours of torture, dawn arrived. The sun crept up in the sky, blessing me with its warming rays. My body relaxed; I fell into an oneiric state, until I slipped off into unconsciousness, again.
        I was having this dream that I couldn’t breathe. A warm, wet, slobbery, mound of goo was covering my mouth. Terrified, I startled awake my heart pounding in my chest. I blinked my eyes until they came into focus. That’s when I realized I wasn’t dreaming. But before I had time to react, a huge, grey, tongue rolled out like a carpet and spread itself all over my face. It was horrible. Whiskers were tickling my cheeks; hot, grassy, smelling breath was puffing on my face as the slobbery mouth expanded its exploration to include my eyeballs. I tried with all my strength to wrestle the donkey head away, but it resisted my force and continued to tongue-kiss me against my will.

        “No! Stop it!” I heard Julie scream in the background. The two beasts must have timed their attack perfectly because from a peripheral glance, I saw Julie turtle her head in her sleeping bag. But that didn't stop the donkey. Ooooh, no. He relentlessly nudged at the opening, chewing on the few stray tendrils of her hair that remained exposed.
       Copying Julie, I quit trying to fight off my attacker, and pulled my sleeping bag over my head. But my nemesis wouldn’t quit either. He copied his donkey friend and kept nudging, attempting to stick his snotty nose in my man-made cocoon.
         Instantaneously, Julie leapt to her feet, and crouched into a kung fu like stance. If she was that brave, I could be too. I wriggled out of my sleeping bag and stood up to face my attacker eye to eye.
          “Get out of here!” I screamed at the donkey clapping my hands trying to scare him away. But the donkey just looked at me and took a step forward in my direction. Now, both Julie and I had done a lot of horseback riding, so we had experience with four-legged equidae, but these animals had a mind-set that was all their own. It became an intriguing battle of the wills—and what my foe didn’t know, was I was stubborn as a mule too. I stretched my body as tall as I could so I would look big.
         “Get out of here!” I snarled slapping my hands together again. The donkey took another step forward—I took a step back in retaliation.

        Right next to me, Julie screamed, “Hi yah! Hi yah!” and karate chopped the air, but her donkey didn’t budge—he just looked at her as if she were crazy. Now, I don’t think the donkey’s thoughts were too far off because in the next instance, she turned and did a ninja leap onto his back.
        Her donkey bolted forward, Julie slid from side to side on his saddle-less back. She managed to regain her balance by grabbing tightly to the mane of her beast that was timorously trotting toward the mountains. The offensive play worked!
    Julie conquering her beast

         So, now it was my turn. I looked my donkey straight in the eyes and snarled; then I pounced on his back. He proved to be a worthy opponent, darting directly under a low branch. It was either dismount or be decapitated—I chose the former. “Be gone fowl beast.” I gloated as he forged briskly toward the mountains in the direction of his crony—securing his escape. Julie dismounted mid way up the hill lest she be carried off to who knows where by her impish foe. 
        We must have caused quite a commotion because when I looked at the brown shack of a house, Noreen, Roger, and the hippie couple were standing on the porch clapping and cheering. First, Julie and I took a few bows, and then we went to the stream out back to wash the taste of donkey out of our mouths.

    © 2010-2011 Each Head Is A World - All Rights Reserved


    1. Mouth kisses from donkeys. That's one I can't claim - but who would want to? Honestly, Susan, you had one of the most adventurous childhoods of anyone I know.

    2. When does your biography come out?

      It seems like it's got a little something for everyone, and as an animal lover, I want the first copy.

      And when your life story gets turned into a movie I will play the donkey if you like.

      You know where to find me right?

      Promoting myself on your blog comment form that is definitely an ass move.

      I would make a great donkey!!!!



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