Girls will be girls

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

Growing up miles from what most consider civilization, time was often measured by the oddity of games played. Fortunately free of the restraints of purchased toys or threats of nefarious human interaction, games were created out of necessity governed only by imagination and hours of daylight.

Having no knowledge of our misfortune or lack of primary-colored plastic fun-makers, our surroundings became our game board and siblings our tribe. Blissfully ignorant of our simple upbringing, our days were full of magnificent, untainted adventure.

Facing the grandest of threats emerging in the Mississippi sun without lathering our freckled skin in sun-blocking salve, somehow we mustered the courage to brave Mother Natures matrix of mayhem. The fields were our summer school and the trees our playground.

Even at the young age of 7, I knew to prepare a first-aid kit before venturing into the wild blue yonder. The necessities were carefully considered and organized methodically in our trusted hand-painted coffee cans. Life-saving tools were needed, such as rusted fishing hooks, soon-to-sour mayonnaise slathered atop a tomato sandwich, blood-stopping, limb-saving duct tape and lastly, life-saving firecrackers, especially the kind that were clearly labeled dangerous.

Occasionally we would take extra precaution and grab one of Daddy’s pocket knives.

Girls will be girls, I suppose.

Each day began just after the sun made her appearance and ended with porch lights signaling the threat of missing dinner. No scheduled play dates, no lessons in Mandarin or cultivating discussion on art. Our deficiency became our greatest blessing.

Our dirty feet, briar-chastised hands and thorn-laden hair wandered throughout the woods fighting dragons, slaying demons and building fortresses amongst the pines. There wasn’t much talk of princess gowns or being rescued. There was epic battles waged as we learned to win, to lose and to get along.

Creatures were captured, healed and brought home; some went willingly while others taught us the complexity of cause and effect. Jeans were ripped, shirts were stained and character was sewn into each of us carefully covering all scrapes and bruises. As storms rolled in, cues were given and respected. When Momma honked the old truck horn, somebody’s bottom was about to meet a certain displeasure.

Girls will be girls, I suppose.

We had no idea we were supposed to behave. We had no idea how we were supposed to behave. We were too busy living, learning and learning to let live. We became capable by being country and confident by not being confined.

Not all little girls crave the adventures of the great outdoors, but not all crave the sweetly decorated indoors either. Now, raising a dragon slayer of my very own, I hope I am able to let her seek out adventure, run through a few briars and wage battles atop river banks.

The world has changed, but childhood remains. My porch light will shine and my dirt-familiar feet will run after her if needed.

One thing I know for sure is girls will be girls, when they are given the opportunity.