I just confessed to a friend that I’m obstinate, and I did it in an email, so I might as well make it the subject for Day O. I’m convinced all my secrets are available online anyway, so what the heck.
It happened in this wise:
I was seven, visiting my grandfather for a week in my hometown, my favorite place in the whole world because it was very small and safe and many of my father’s aunts and uncles, all of whom were over sixty, and some over eighty, lived there. I pity anyone who’s never had the privilege of sitting on a front porch on a hot summer day while old ladies play forty-two, or of sitting with old men on the bench in the shade of ligustrums outside the post office.
“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”
My great-aunt’s front porch was the best place to listen, because those ladies told the most interesting stories. (This story, however, isn’t theirs; it’s mine.)
My grandfather, whom younger people, even those not related to him, called Dad or Uncle Frank, lived around the corner from my great-aunt. His house faced the side street and his front porch wasn’t visible from hers, or even from her back windows, so I had a measure of privacy; female relatives so often think children need supervision. My grandfather assumed I could take care of myself. I appreciated that and didn’t take advantage.
One day a friend who’d been hunting, probably on my grandfather’s farm, brought Dad a rabbit he’d shot. Dad said we would have fried rabbit for supper. I was delighted. Fried rabbit was a delicacy.
That afternoon, I wandered over to my great-aunt’s front porch, where a group of ladies had congregated, and announced Dad and I were having rabbit for supper. That got their attention.
One of the aunts said, “You’re not going to eat that rabbit!”
This is where the word obstinate comes in.
I was going to eat that rabbit, and her statement–really an order–ensured I was definitely going to eat that rabbit.
And I ate it.
Twelve years later, thanks to a college anatomy and physiology course, I learned about tularemia and why I shouldn’t have eaten the rabbit, or even touched it or breathed around it.
It’s a wonder I’m still alive.
My only consolation is that if my aunt had told my grandfather not to eat the rabbit, he’d have gone ahead and eaten it, too.
Changing the subject–O is also for Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! I remembered, for the nth time, that today is the deadline for submitting my chapter to my critique group, Austin Mystery Writers. It’s written, but I have to clean it up. Otherwise–another O word–my advisers won’t be able to see past the parts I already know are wrong.
According to Dictionary.com, and based on the Random House Dictionary (2018), the word was “first used in
In “The Making of A Writer: Listening the Dark,” excerpted from Eudora Welty’s memoir, One Writer’s Beginnings, Welty explains the connection between listening and her writing. It appears on The New York Times on the Web.
To read more Day O posts from Blogging A to Z, click AtoZ.
By Anonymous (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.07842) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons