We are so politically correct these days that sometimes I wonder if things have gone too far. I know historically there have been abuses in all walks of life but as youngsters we lived full and enriched lives. We were blissfully unencumbered by pre-formed prejudices just because we were young. I am not so sure my children with all their modernities will have the enrichment of that innocent excitement.
I did not have the benefit of black ops 2 Zombies but I would not say this deprived me of my childhood. Instead I managed to get out into the garden and climb trees, learn to ride, learnt to milk a cow. I played tennis and swam daily from as early as we could bear the cold in March/April often going on till November if we could manage it. I paid for my riding lessons by mucking out, tacking up and later breaking in ponies before being allowed to take children out on hacks or teaching them how to jump, round the world and dressage.
Sad to say, unlike my children who will have to protect me, I feel I am unable to kill or seriously deter a marauding Zombie who cannot be shot and continues bits hanging off as the blood spurts and sprays, to approach me. I do feel though that I could if marooned on a desert island for any length of time, in desperation catch and cook a chicken or rabbit to survive. I could turn my skills to building a safe waterproof shelter and administer an acceptable degree of make do first aid.
Our lives were very carefree and we didn’t think about the dangers. If a man approached me asking for directions as I played out on the road my thoughts did not immediately shout danger, danger run. I would answer his query and point him in the right direction. I may even lead him if I was going his way. I remember how my freedom was curtailed dramatically when Genette Tate disappeared very close to where we were living at the time. My father needed to know my whereabouts all the time, I suddenly had tight time curfews which I could not understand and often forgot leading my poor father to traipse around country lanes looking for me.
The sad thing is that the Genette Tates of this world were the highlighted cases and recent history proves that abuses and evil intent came from all sorts of places even the most respected icons of the time. However I am sure that not every person is inherently evil or covering a demonic past. Some things may be totally innocent.
It was over tea we were discussing our day when Mini Son mentioned “I was hugged by a man today”
The hairs on my neck prickled, my muscles contracted and I drew a deep breath as I reached for the phone to call 999.
His two brothers began chanting “stranger danger”.
Sexy Sporty Dad quietly asked him “What happened?”
“I was in the shop today when a really old man was trying to work the self-serve machine. He could not get it to work so I went over and showed him. I put all his shopping through and showed him where to put the money. When we had finished he put his arm around me and said thank you.”
I am so proud of mini Son, I did not know he knew how to work the self-serve machines but he showed thoughtful compassion for this old man and helped someone in need. The man was probably far too old to realize he should not hug or touch a young boy but was trying to say thank you in the only way he knew how.
I told Mini Son he had done the right thing although added that he still must not go in anyone’s car or take sweets from a stranger.
I also added that if he is going to help someone then to do it as he did in full view because there is the other side that depressingly I have to consider. The man was obviously old and possibly a little confused, what if he suddenly forgot why a young hooded against the weather pre-teen is touching his food or his money. Would the supermarket believe my boy against an old man that he was helping not stealing?
How sad that we even have to be aware of strangers assuming them to be potential abusers or unable to help in case we are branded wicked. Where did trust and community values lose their way?
I am a winner, I cannot believe that I actually managed to complete the challenge and write over 50,000 words in 30 days. Mini son typed the last word on the laptop as we both watched the word count click up. I then inserted the whole story into the verification page on the website and he pressed the button. Enjoying a moment of incredible self-satisfaction, pride and emotion I showed Sexy Sporty Dad who was very complimentary. He cannot understand the desire to write, but I cannot understand his need to go and cycle 60 odd miles on a cold wet muddy Saturday morning.
It had not been easy. I had been disciplined about my rising at 5.30 each day and writing till 7pm. I did not tell anyone locally I was taking part lest I did not rise to the challenge and had to tell them of my failure. I did join in the forums and had a lot of support from my writing friends who kept me going with encouragement, support and belonging.
The story has a long way to go and the humour is minimal but all that is for the editing. The original remit to tell the children and grandchildren who I am is beginning to form and hopefully I will complete the rest of the novel as time allows and my story develops.
Have a look at what I am up to with my food blog at Tea Time Treats.