Fiction Friday #1

June 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Fiction Friday, Writing | 8 Comments

My good friend, Mark, has challenged himself and any other brave soul to post a work of fiction – or at least some sort of writing – each and every Friday.  The both of us love to write, but finding the time to write creatively has been problematic.  He is calling this endeavor Fiction Friday and the rules are quite flexible.  As I did not discover that I had personally been challenged until I was on vacation last week, I am taking the liberty of posting this on a Monday while jury-rigging the date to say last Friday.  Mark’s friend, Dreal (hey, I think I know that guy, too), has also taken the plung.  If you’re interested, please give our work a read.  We’d love to hear what you think.

My first entry is a bit of tall tale and memoir mixed together.  I dedicate it to the friend for whom I first wrote it, Kim

Now, for your reading pleasure, I submit:

Carl Jung, Mr. Skippers, and Great, Great, Great Grandpa Drees

When I was in the fourth grade, Mr. Skippers scared the living shit out of me.  He was at least 8 feet tall and he could yell better, louder, and with more hot air than any drill sergeant I could ever imagine.  To make matters worse, the mileage proposal up to the voters the summer before to cover buses and physical education was not passed.  Therefore, my mother drove me to my doom every single morning and, three days a week, my teacher just about killed me as he ran us through the most sadistic gym class in which I’ve ever taken part.

As an illustration, I am not a tidy person.  I never have been.  From day two of the fourth grade, Mr. Skippers was on my ass to clean out my desk.  Finally a few weeks later, in a misguided attempt to please him, I spent the time between lunch recess and reading time cleaning that sucker out.  After I finished, I edged my way up to his desk and told him that my desk was sparkling clean.  He smiled and said that he would see me in reading group.


When I saw everyone else with their homework on their laps, I started to feel sick.  I live to please people, perhaps to a fault.  My fault that day was forgetting to do my reading homework as well.  After he collected the papers, he asked me why I hadn’t turned mine in.  My throat was so dry and tight I have no idea how I responded audibly, but I told him that I forgot all about it and cleaned out my desk instead.


Have you ever seen an 8 foot tall man get blood red in the face?  Have you ever seen an 8 foot tall man lean toward you while his eyes are shooting out of their sockets in your direction?  I have.  I’m surprised that I didn’t pee myself.  “Hogwash!” he screamed.


I started to cry instantly, but the first tears might have been some of the spit flying out of him mouth when he yelled at me.  “I don’t want to see your face until you’ve finished your work!  For the rest of the week you will stand against the wall during lunch break so you never, ever, forget to do your homework again.”


Perhaps this is why just about everything he taught me afterwards took on a sinister tone.  “Water is the combination of two units of hydrogen and one unit of oxygen.” says Mr. Skippers.  “Yikes!” says my fourth grade self.


At some point during that year, we had scientific discussions about the weights of single things and then larger amounts of those things.  Some things weigh in large quantities as you might expect.   For example, the weight of one egg prepares you for the weight of a dozen eggs.  He was a farmer (slaughterer of animals) when he wasn’t a teacher (slaughterer of young children).  A lot of his examples in class took on one or another aspect of farm life.  He showed us a stalk of hay.  So light you can tickle someone with it, right?  Well, he explained, hay is deadly when it is rolled into a bale.  He said that if a bale of hay rolled over you or fell on top of you it could kill you.  From that moment, I have never been comfortable in the company of hay.


I don’t particularly care for hay rides although I understand that he wasn’t talking about bales of that size.  When I see them while driving along a country road, the thought of painful, crushing death is never that far from my mind.  I wouldn’t quite call this a phobia, but you might.  While watching a past season of The Amazing Race, there was an episode where one member of each team had to untie and unroll bales of hay in order to find the clue to the next Pit Stop.  I looked at my husband and told him flat out, “You’d be doing that task.  I’d rather bungee jump over the Grand Canyon.”


So, you don’t care about my fear of hay bales any further than you can throw them (but not in my direction, please)?  Why did I clog up the blogosphere with this story?  It is because I believe that this fear of mine is living proof of Carl Jung’s school of psychology.


My maiden name is uncommon in the United States.  Everyone born in this country with that last name is related to me in some fashion.  This makes them easy to research, assuming you find any information at all.  The ancestors associated with my maiden name come from an undoubtedly godforsaken town in the upper northeastern tip of the Netherlands called Finsterwolde.  My paternal grandfather, Egbert, is first generation American.  His father, Eggo, immigrated to the United States sometime before 1904.  Eggo’s father, Drees, immigrated as well.  It was while researching my grandfather’s ancestry on the Internet that I discovered that my poor, great, great, great grandfather Drees died of a broken neck while being crushed by his very own – you guessed it – bale of freakin’ hay.


I will let you decide if I am stricken with horror by merely glancing at hay bales because of one Mr. Skippers, or if have I been contacted and forewarned via the collective unconscious by my loving great, great, great Grandpa Drees.


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  1. hahahah! I don’t think I could have ever imagined that I would laugh so hard at reading about someone being crushed by a “bale of freakin’ hay.” I was not expecting that connection and it definitely struck a humor chord.

    =) Thanks for taking up the fiction friday challenge. I hope this stays as much fun as it is starting off!

  2. What a great idea, I really love this story too.

  3. […] him of how much he enjoys writing.  Dreal joined him in this challenge and so have I.  I jumped in last week.  This is my second Fiction Friday installment.  If you would like a fun way to keep […]

  4. […] him of how much he enjoys writing.  Dreal joined him in this challenge and so have I.  I jumped in two weeks ago.  If you would like a fun way to keep yourself writing, just let Mark, Dreal, or I […]

  5. […] particularly unmotivated today.  I didn’t even think about it last night.  I know that it is Fiction Friday, but I have nothing at this point.  What I have learned is not to leave the writing until Thursday […]

  6. Welcome to the weirdness of Dodde/Doddema.

  7. How even more freakish that he has an October birthday – just like my grandfather and me? I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping that my grandpa remembers his grandfather’s birthday.

  8. […] I am afraid of hay – most specifically the sort found in bales. 2) I will not knowingly eat a food stuff that has […]

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