Guilt & Guitars

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Dec 01, 2015 11:22 AM

I am still wondering whether I was curious or mischievous when I was young. Either way, one or both of those qualities sometimes got me into trouble - including the Christmas when I was four years old. 

That year, the presents Mom had ordered from the Simpson-Sears Catalogue arrived early. Since our house was small and had no closets, Mom struggled to find a suitable hiding place for the loot. Desperate, she wound up storing the gifts behind the clothes inside the wardrobe in the bedroom I shared with my brother, hoping we wouldn’t happen upon them.

One day, while Mom was outside hanging clothes on the line, I was playing around when, for some reason, I crept inside the wardrobe. I immediately discovered the gifts and among them, to my great delight, was a toy guitar. I was so enthralled with it that I began banging away on the strings. When Mom came back inside and heard the racket, she yelled out, scolding me for being noisy. I quickly returned the prized possession to its hiding place.

But as soon as Mom returned outside to tend to the clothesline, I raced excitedly to the wardrobe, grabbed the guitar and started banging on those strings again. Upon hearing the racket a second time, Mom returned - this time catching me in the act of enjoying my early Christmas present. Disappointed and angry, she scolded me. Yet all the while I could think only of my toy guitar and how I loved playing it. Again, I returned the gift to its not-so-secret hiding place and Mom returned to her chores at the clothesline.

Then all of a sudden - I don’t know what came over me; was it curiosity? Or mischievousness, perhaps? - the very second I heard her leave, I ran to the kitchen door and locked it behind her. I then raced back to the wardrobe and resumed my merry music making without so much as a thought about the trouble I was bestowing upon myself. My only thoughts were about the guitar. But before long, Mom was at the kitchen door, furious and hollering out my name. As she yelled and threatened me with all kinds of punishments, I ignored her and kept right on playing.

Helpless and no doubt frustrated, Mom headed to our neighbour’s house for help. She returned with backup in the form of the gentleman of the house (who happened to be a mailman). When I glanced out the window and saw not just Mom - but also the mailman - angry and scolding me, I flew to the kitchen door in a panic and unlocked it. Once inside, Mom and the mailman (still wearing his uniform from his day’s work) both gave me a stern telling. For a long time afterwards, I was petrified of our neighbour - and also mailmen in general. Nevertheless, joy outweighed guilt when I received my guitar Christmas morning. - Submitted by Robert Wayne Tucker of Halifax, N.S.

John Cornick

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

John Cornick

Great story Robert. Guess we can all plead guilty to this de-meaner sometime in our lives.