1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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The Surprise

Good intentions don’t always turn out good, and can result in hurt feelings and a painful lesson.

“Come see what I’ve made. You’re going to be surprised,” said David.

I followed him across our front yard, over a dirt road, and into a hedgerow lining the bank. Hidden in the brush was a room, almost cave-like. I was indeed surprised at his creation and a little jealous I hadn’t thought of it myself.

David carved out and cleared a three-foot square area. He made a bench by placing a piece of wood across a couple of flattish rocks. As his guest, he let me sit while he squatted. We waited for a car to pass by his secret hidey-hole. This took some time, since we lived on a barely traveled rural road. It was fun to know we could see, but couldn’t be seen.

“I’m impressed,” I admitted. “This is neat.”

David got hungry and left to get food. I grew impatient waiting, and began bending back more branches to enlarge his room. I decided to surprise him by making his dirt floor perfectly smooth and lining the circumference with larger stones. I created a non-working fireplace with a circle of stones and sticks in the middle.

I worked quickly to complete my surprise before he came back. I watched through the thicket for his return, and scrambled out to meet him.

“Wait ‘til you see what I did.”

He crawled into his hidden chamber and bolted upright through the brush.

“You ruined it!” he thundered. “I hate you!”

Bewildered, I watched him kick and stomp, destroying his cabin. He marched over to me.

“Why did you do that?” he demanded. “It was mine. You ruined it.”

“I thought it would make you happy.”

“Well it didn’t!” He punched me in the stomach and stormed to the house.

The impact took my breath away and I dropped to my knees. Everything went black. I literally saw stars. Doubled in half, I cried over his reaction as much for my pain.

It took years before I understood what I had done wrong. I’d made his cabin mine.

Lesson learned: When someone is proud of an accomplishment, do not take it upon yourself to make it better.

Now it’s your turn: Did you ever overstep the boundries with a good intention?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


14 Comments

  1. xerxeska says:

    Well, sort of. Early in my advertising career the management assigned an assistant to work for me. She was young and pretty. One day she showed me an assignment I had given her. I read it. It was pretty damn good. So, in my enthusiasm, I reached forward and gave me a peck on her cheek. Her reaction was quite unexpected. She threw the papers on the floor and barged out of office saying “You men are all the same. You don’t know how to appreciate a woman except by being physical.” Good grief! For all yje time she worked for me after this, I kept my distance from her.

    So you see, a well intentioned act like your remodelling of your son’ hideaway, can be resented because now he could not ever feel it was all his doing.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Xerxeska, it’s true that nowadays you have to so careful about hugging or kissing. It’s too bad.
      David is my brother, not my son. But it could easily have been the other way around with the same result.

  2. C. Suresh says:

    Wow! That was illuminating and quite true. No wonder they say that the way to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Yeah, Suresh, most of my intentions weren’t exactly ‘good’ and the times I tried to be good things kind of got in the way. Check out my post ‘Snowshoveling Showdown’ under Amazing Discoveries. You’ll see that David didn’t always benefit from my good deeds.

  3. CJ says:

    Ahhh well, we all over-step and come away with red-hot faces, hearts full of remorse and embarrassment, and, in your case, a real sore tummy…this is the way we live and learn. Life’s most painful lessons usually involve an innocent, if not naive, gesture of what we believe to be a truly selfless act of personal goodwill. I am still an occasional accidental interloper, unfortunately. Hugs, CJ.

  4. Val Mills says:

    Not over stepping boundaries, but this reminded me of my own hole in the hedge!

  5. e m bahnsen says:

    Ah, Mary. Another great story. My husband has a tendency to want to be helpful without being asked. I interpret his actions as “it’s good, but not good enough. Let me help you (make it better)”.

  6. Ah, those woodland ‘dens’! I’ve constructed a few, in my time. Come to think of it, I’m in one now. I’ve always been the target for improvement, and deservedly so; though it can be irritating at times, as for example when I do the housework and my wife virtually follows me round, doing it again……

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Ha, ha, Fred. Putting dishes in the dishwasher is a running joke in our home. Everyone just dumps them in willy-nilly, because they know I’m going to rearrange them anyway.
      We were so lucky to be able to make cabins and forts in wooded areas. When my four children (within 4 yrs from youngest to oldest) and their friends were younger, they created so many tree forts in our side woods that it looked like an Eewok village from Star Wars.

  7. spunkybong says:

    The first recorded instance of ‘hearts and minds’ gone wrong, Skinny? 😀

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