The West Wasn’t Won By Weak-Kneed Men


I’m not even going to pretend that I understand boys.  Oh, I mother two of them, and sometimes THREE of them, if Hubs and the boy start fighting over what channel they’re going to watch, even though we have THREE television sets in this house.

(Bless their hearts.)

But being a mother to boys doesn’t mean that I understand them fully, because WHY does donning sweatshirts and jeans and dark hats, and crawling through the underbrush and wading through knee-deep swamp waters, all in the name of LET’S SHOOT SOMEONE!!, constitute a good time?

Do you know what GIRLS consider to be a good time?  NOT crawling on their bellies in the weeds, because I’m not even going to pretend that the thought of the wildlife living there doesn’t scare me into older age.

Ticks live in the tall weeds.  Snakes live in the tall weeds.  Big spiders live in the tall weeds.  Bugs the likes of which I’ve never even heard of live in the tall weeds.

Need I say more?

Because Patrick’s house is blessed with acreage and fields of wildness where Big Foot has very possibly been seen… as well as a decent pond… and trees, trees and more trees… it has become the hot spot for wars with air soft guns.  I drove the boy, Kellen and John out there this afternoon, because a battle was scheduled, and HECK, YES!  They were totally in!

They gathered guns and dark clothes and protective eye wear.  There were trashcan lids to use as shields, and definite rules of NO FACE SHOTS and NO EXECUTIONS AT POINT-BLANK RANGE.

(You have to establish rules like this with boys, because otherwise what looks fun, will happen, regardless of whether it’s safe or not.)

(You do not have to set rules like this with girls.  Girls would fire twice into the air and exclaim, “Well, that’s pretty much boring.  Let’s go to town and get Starbucks and manicures!”)

(Thank you, Jesus, for making me a girl.  Amen.)

I did have my camera with me when I dropped the three boys off, so naturally I solicited photos.

(Yes, Hubs has mentioned that my camera could very possibly be my third arm.  Or even my third child.  I know that if our house was burning down, I would save the boys first, the camera second, and the cats… sixth or seventh.)

The crew was less than thrilled with the words, “Squeeze together, boys!  Squeeze together and smile,” but I threatened to take all of their ammunition and hold it hostage at Starbucks if they didn’t cooperate with at least one group shot.

IMG_5124That is a seasoned group of trained professionals, people.  They had enough firepower to hole up in an underground bunker and become freemen until at least October.

Unless they got hungry, that is.

Their bags and pockets were so loaded down with ammo, they didn’t have any room left over for apples and crackers.

For the record?  The boy would wear his black Abercrombie sweatshirt every single day of the year, if I’d let him.  Sometimes I get weak from arguing with him over JUST LET MAMA WASH THE STUPID THING.  I consider this photograph to be visual evidence that the boy’s sweatshirt is filthy.  Don’t judge me as an incompetent mother.  I have to sneak that thing out of his bedroom under the cover of darkness if I have any hopes of getting it and half a gallon of Tide into the Whirlpool together.  I can only hope that someday there will come a PRETTY TEENAGE GIRL into his life who will convince him to WASH THAT DISGUSTING THING ALREADY!

(Oh, I kid, people.  I won’t let my boy date until he’s 42.)

IMG_5127IMG_5128 IMG_5129 IMG_5131 IMG_5132 IMG_5133 IMG_5134 IMG_5137 IMG_5136They’re not there to make fashion statements with the ski goggles, people.  The goggles keep illegal shots to the face from putting an eye out.

(Yes.  I’m rowing the same boat with Ralphie’s mother.  “You’ll put your eye out!”)

Hubs had his own real-life drama at the tender age of sixteen, when he took a ricocheted .22 bullet to the cheek and eye.  He was flown to Denver for emergency eye surgery.  He was told that he’d have to lie down for a quarter of the school year, so that the eye could heal.  He had a tutor who came to his house to keep him on top of his schoolwork.  Sadly, she wasn’t a JUST GRADUATED WITH A TEACHING DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY kind of girl that he would fall in love with.  She was closer to eighty years old and had taught Laura Ingalls Wilder to read.

(Let me pause here, while I laugh over that.)

Plus?  I shiver at those hospital bills.

The boy will wear whatever it takes to keep his peepers safe.

Oh!  And look!  Apparently James Bond showed up for some live-action adventure this afternoon…

IMG_5135I didn’t stay to watch the gunfight, people.

I went to Starbucks.


I’m not even kidding.

(Unless you’re Hubs, and you’re reading this.  Then I’d like to go on the record as saying, “No.  I don’t think I actually DID go to Starbucks today.  I’m PRETTY SURE I’m still on budget for DON’T SPEND A GOB OF OUR MONEY ON CHAI TEA IN PAPER MERMAID CUPS.)

Two hours later, I picked the three boys up that I’d dropped off at Patrick’s house.

The boy had taken a bullet to the cheek.  He has a bloody, open wound there.  He told me, “It doesn’t even hurt!  And it was a total accident!  I’m fine!”

He knew that to tell me anything else would have resulted in him being moved to Switzerland, where he would be a neutral party that didn’t participate in gunfights.

Kellen had taken a bullet to the knuckle of his right index finger.

He told me, “It didn’t hurt at all.  I know it’s dripping a lot of blood, but hand wounds LOOK WORSE than they really are.”

He was also trying to avoid becoming a resident of Switzerland.

John took a shot to the back of the leg.  He said, “This pair of Carhartt jeans is lined.  With flannel.  My mom made me wear them.  I almost passed out from being too hot, but I seriously didn’t even FEEL the bullet hit my leg.”

That might actually be true.  I saw those jeans.  THICK is an understatement.  They’re the kind of lined jeans you wear when you’re a biologist at the North Pole.

The boys had leaves in their hair, blood on their bodies, and dirt everywhere.  Their legs and shoes were muddy messes.  Their faces were scratched.

Plus?  Do you know how your kitchen garbage smells when you forget to empty it after you throw a chicken carcass in there and that’s where it stays overnight?  That smell actually smells BETTER than these three boys smelled on the drive home.

No, people, I don’t understand boys and their need to have an adventure by lying motionless in the tall grass where REAL SNAKES LIVE, just so they can jump up and pop a cap in their best buddy.

But then, they don’t understand how I can sit in a leather chair for three hours at Starbucks with a girlfriend and keep a conversation going the entire time.

And I’m okay with that.

3 thoughts on “The West Wasn’t Won By Weak-Kneed Men

  1. I totally and completely know exactly what you mean about the chicken carcass smell. I dread the day when my boys smell worse than that.

  2. I think I’ll go out on a limb here and predict a “growth spurt” for the Boy over this Summer. I didn’t see the changes in his facial features that you saw when he was playing the piano, but I do see some body changes in the photos of this post. You might want to get a comfy little nest going in your masterbedroom closet!
    Good for you on INSISTING on eye protection during their War Games. My husband is an Optometrist (retired) so eye protection is my life. So why didn’t we get to see actual pictures of the injuries? (Were you afraid of the other parents?)You might want to get a poster-size one of The Boy with the caption, “This Is Why We Wear Eye Protection”. I’m glad they all had fun and were all OK.
    Oh, and you forgot to mention toads and frogs as part of the creepy-crawly inhabitants of tall, wet weeds…OK Games OVER!

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