Technically, boys should have been swarming all over me like cows on a salt-lick. Yes, I was that impressive. But due to technical difficulties, they ran for the hills.
My mother, David, and I returned from church and found Mom’s cousin and his wife visiting from Maine. They had a boy and girl, Tim and Sarah, around the same age as David and me. Unfortunately for Tim, he sparked my interest.
We kids went outside and ended up on a stone wall under a huge pine tree (behind Janie’s house).
“Watch how high I climb this tree,” said Tim.
I watched him climb high into the tree. He was good, but I was better. I prepared to wow-his-socks-off and scrambled up the tree to where he perched on a limb.
“Toot toot, make way for the best climber in the world,” I called, passing him and sitting a few branches higher.
“You only climbed higher because you’re so skinny you can stand on a twig,” he yelled, climbing back down.
A minor setback; I didn’t give up that easily. I climbed down to the bottom branch, sat on it, swung down by my legs, and prepared to flip off.
In my haste to get his admiration, I forgot I just came back from church. The rough pine bark scraped the skin behind my bare knees and my dress fell over my head. I didn’t break my neck again, but I did crash down onto the stone wall.
“Oh, Poo-pappy,” I uttered.
David and Tim laughed, and chanted, “We saw London, we saw France, we saw Mary’s dirty underpants.”
“They are not dirty,” I yelled, and briefly considered proving it.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” asked Sarah.
With the boys still chanting, we walked back to the house.
“Good gravy! Mary Barbara! What have you done to yourself?” shrieked Mom.
Blotches of pine pitch decorated my Sunday dress, white ankle socks, and exposed skin. Pitch is comparable to amber-colored crazy-glue, only harder to get off. I spent days scratching bits of pitch off my arms and legs. It never came off my clothes.
The pitch should have given me empathy for the scrubbing Deedee LaCross endured from my artistic use of her body. And many years later it did, but not right then.
I fumed in my room, still angry at David for saying my underwear was dirty—the dark spots were pine pitch. And I wasn’t too happy with Tim’s lack of awe regarding my superior skills; I should have climbed higher.
I resolved to discover the secret of enticing the male population. I needed to figure out how Olive Oyl managed to get Popeye and Bluto to fight over her. By the way, I’d pick Bluto, after teaching him some manners.
Lessons learned: Change into play clothes before climbing a pine tree. And don’t hang upside down while wearing a dress.
Now it’s your turn: Did your underwear ever get shown by mistake?
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