When I was six years old, my family moved into a newly developed neighborhood. The houses on the road past our little cul-de-sac were still under construction. At the end of that road, there was a small lake. Like I said, this was a new subdivision, and the land around this lake hadn’t been cleared off.
One day, the four of us (Dad, Mom, me and my older sister) took a walk to the lake. I don’t think we’d lived there very long at the time, so I couldn’t have been anyu older than seven. Even though I don’t have any visual memories of that stroll, I’ve never forgotten how the excursion ended. When we were by the lake, one of my parents spotted some wild boar close by. I’m not sure if they actually started chasing us or if my Mom and Dad were just afraid they would, I just know we had to “hightail” it out of there. We ran as fast as we could, not stopping until we’d made it back to the road. Whew!! What a close call! We were lucky we escaped the dangerous situation without getting hurt.
Damn those wild boars!! The whole ordeal must have really traumatized me because, like I said, that fear has always stuck with me. It’s one of those childhood experiences I have recounted time and time again throughout my life. I mean, it’s not something I lead with. But, if a conversation reminds me of the incident, I definitely share the terrifying tale.
Fast forward about forty years. My Mom is still living in the same house and we are there celebrating a birthday or Easter, I’m not sure which. My Dad has passed away, so it’s me, my mother, and my sister and her family. Me and my nephew are talking about fishing and the close by places where we could possibly go. My mind went to “wild boar lake” just a street away and started telling the story to him and my niece. I notice my Mother and sister looking at each other with a weird smirk on the faces. Confused, I ask them what’s so funny. My sister’s reply… “You know that didn’t really happen, right?”
What?! Of course, it did! I remember like it was yesterday. The fear has stayed with me all these years, and it just slipped her mind? She may be three years older than me, but Mom and Dad were even scared. I adamantly defended my recollection. My memory was real… even if the event wasn’t.
My Mom explained the confusion. The area around that lake wasn’t safe for a seven year old girl to explore on her own. And, according to my Mom, my rebellious nature was already evident even at that young age. Telling me I wasn’t allowed to go back there by myself would’ve only made me want to do it more. So, the whole “wild boar” threat was their way of making sure I stayed away from the lake. Wow! Pretty tricky, weren’t they? Obviously, it worked. I never wanted to go back there again as long as I lived. But, come on, couldn’t ya’ll have let me in on your prank sometime before my mid 40’s?
I never got an answer to that last question. Everybody was too busy laughing to pay attention.