Lost Childhood and Journey To The Top

These pieces were written for the Six Story Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘lost’.

Two pieces this week, one serious, one-light-hearted.

Lost childhood

The family had stopped by the side of the road to have a picnic and pick wild blackberries that would fill pies and jam jars.

The father could reach the highest and was filling a large metal bucket slung over his shoulder with a loop of rope through the handle, so he could keep both hands free for picking.

The daughter was putting the fruit she could reach into the stainless-steel billycan the family normally used to fetch milk from the dairy.

The mother was holding up her pinafore by its corners to make a voluminous cloth basket for the fruit she could reach, while keeping an eye on the son in his blue sun hat, too small to pick without ending up covered in scratches and wanting to go home.

The son was happily exploring the long spring grass at the side of the country road for hidden treasures when he suddenly stopped, cast his eyes in all directions and, unable to see his family, wailed ‘Mummy, I lost.’

Many years later he said the same thing as his crippled flaming chopper fell from the sky over Vietnam and landed on a family harvesting rice.

Journey to the top

The young man, burdened by a large backpack with the neck of a guitar sticking out, staggered into the clearing that had become Ronald’s home, preceded by Angus, Ronald’s black and white Scottish collie, her red tongue lolling from her permanent grin.

Angus went to Ronald for a pat, had a drink, and sat at Ronald’s feet, panting gently, and watched as he placed the blackened billy can on the campfire.

The young man, looking totally lost, eased the backpack off his shoulders and sat on a tree stump, catching his breath.

As Ronald wiped out a couple of enamel mugs with the tail end of a beard that stretched beyond his waist, the young man said  ‘You must think I’m crazy but I want to really make it playing music and a guy I met in the valley said there’s a kind of guru up here that has the secret.’

Ronald and Angus smiled and Ronald said ‘Yeah, he’s at the top of the mountain behind me … but I have to warn ya, it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.’

As the young man shouldered his pack and continued his journey, Ronald fetched his bagpipes and played him on his way, with Angus howling along in unison.

Endnote: Wind your musical clock back over 40 years and watch AC/DC perform the song that they never again played live after the death of their original lead singer, Ronald ‘Bon’ Scott. Rumour has it (well, at least since I started it for the benefit of this story) that Bon faked his death and disappeared, because he didn’t like the view from the top.

26 thoughts on “Lost Childhood and Journey To The Top

  1. Double Six.
    Very cool.
    Nice parallel construction and yet still emotionally contrasting.
    (Who the hell were the kids, a bunch of high schoolers in a tribute band? lol)

    I love the concept of starting rumors (while covering one’s trail), brings to mind an old saying, usually attributed to Nietzsche, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who teach make it all up as they go along.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I’ve heard bagpipes and collie symphonies and they really are quite splendid. (Only equaled by violin and greyhound!) Powerful first story. I’m sure ‘Mummy, I lost!’ has been the cry of many a warrior at the end. Thank you for raising my heart again with the second story! Both excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent Doug. The serious one brought back memories of fruit picking with the family as a young kid… but I wasn’t prepared for the powerful war ending. Well done. The light-hearted one brought a smile. Legends and gurus and a spot of AC/DC!

    Liked by 1 person

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