Pure Slush

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Turning Thirteen

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by Wayne Scheer

 

I hate it when it snows. It used to be fun when I was a kid, but now my dad makes me shovel the front walk and driveway.

Everyone else has a snow blower.

He says, “What do I need with a snow blower? I have a son.”

He thinks he’s funny.

It’s strange the way you get treated differently once you become a teenager. They used to let me sleep late on snowy mornings when there wasn’t school. I’d hear mom say, “He’s a growing boy. Let him sleep in.” Now it’s “Davey, wake up. You’re too old to sleep all day.”

It’s like I’m another person just because I turned thirteen.

I used to think it would be a big deal becoming a teenager. I thought they wouldn’t treat me like a kid anymore. I didn’t know not being a kid would be like this.

I mean is it my fault I’m taller than my mom and almost as tall as my dad?

“You’re too big for me to tell you to clean your room,” my mom says. “You should know it needs cleaning.”

If I’m so big, shouldn’t I also know when it doesn’t need cleaning?

“I like it messy,” I say.

“Don’t talk back to your mother,” dad says. “You’re not too old for me to ground you.”

That’s the problem with being thirteen. You’re too old to be a kid, but you’re not old enough to make your own decisions.

So when they told me to shovel the snow off the sidewalk, I said, “No.”  I reminded them how proud mom was of dad when he stood up to his old boss, Mr. Edleton, and quit rather than work for him.

I thought I made a good point.

“That’s different,” my father said. “Now shovel the damn driveway.”

Whenever adults can’t think of what to say, they resort to, “That’s different.”

“How’s it different?” I ask. But I knew what my father would say.

“Either shovel the walk now or do it after you’re punished. That’s your answer.”

I look to mom for support. She says, “And be sure to wear the heavy sweater Aunt Rita knitted for your birthday. The red one with the clown’s face.”

 

published 16 August 2013