It was a hot dusty afternoon in Africa when I and my friends had one of our seemingly brightest of ideas…to venture across the main road to the water hole. We were all about seven years old, you see, and the main road was in itself a good mile’s walk away. My childish heart knew that sneaking to the water hole would be a direct violation of my parents pre-dictated safety perimeter, but the leader of our pack was a good talker, as I was not going to be the only one to not go. So we set out on our hot journey as breezes of the Sahara blew softly from far far away around our dusty little feet and faces.
We finally arrived and it was a glorious sight, truly. We swam and played for hours, our toes getting lost deep within the cool thick mud of the bank as old cement structures left from factories built long ago sat scenically around the horizon. The hours ticked on and my young eyes began to sense a darkening to the sky. Dusk was approaching, I was always to be home before dark, and here I stood a mile away, drenched head to toe in watery mud. We all sped for home, parting ways as we re-entered the mission station compound. My heart pounded as I crept through the now thick darkness of night and tears of my coming punishment began to lace my eyes as I went inside.
The kitchen smelled of heavenly aromas as my mom stood cooking, and when she glanced over and saw my wet muddy countenance for the first time all I could do was cry, pouring out my wrongs in tearful woes before her. Mom almost seemed comical as she nodded. “Well go tell your dad, and we will decide if you get punished.” I ran outside to the work shed, smelling the familiar kerosene and cool cement smells of my dad’s outdoor office. Tears pouring from a tearful muddy countenance graced my dad’s sight and after I finished my explanations he almost seemed to laugh slightly in amusement. “Will you do it again?” He asked sternly as I immediately shook my head no. “Okay, then go get cleaned up for dinner.” I hid my joy as I ran for the shower. I hated baths but this time my heart was singing its freedom song.
Today I went where no child had dared gone before…and I had lived to tell my daring tale one more day.