Head Start

Growing up on the farm was a never ending experience of all that life has to give. You never knew what new thing you you were going to learn next and what would shape and mold you into the person you were to become. Enter my youngest sister Martina, who at 12 years younger than me learned a little something at the loving hand of our mother.
Kindergarten was just a couple of weeks away for Martina and Mother had signed her up for a Head Start program to prepare her for the coming school year. A bus from Medicine Lodge was to pick her up in the morning and bring her back a few hours later. It would let her interact with other children her age and get her familiar with the classroom atmosphere. My mom seemed pleased with this decision and explained to her daughter what would take place in the following days. You see, a farm is different from the small town or city as most of the time you only have other siblings or just yourself to play and learn with and the only interaction I had with both my sisters at that age was to make a face or punt a doll across the room. So Martina was signed up and things were in place for a glorious sendoff the following day.
At the break of dawn, up jumped the eager student ready for the brave new world. With her teeth brushed, hair combed, new school clothes hurriedly put on, and breakfast gulped down, my little sister nervously peered out the front door awaiting the little yellow school bus to whisk her away. The bus drove in, opened the door, awaiting it’s little passenger. Only the little passenger was not having any part of it. She had frozen like a statue, arms folded, with a less than pleased look on her face. My mother, holding the front door open said, “There it is! There is the bus. Hurry up, you don’t want to make Mr. Kahey (the bus driver) late do you?”
Martina exclaimed, “I changed my mind! I don’t want to go!”
Mom exclaimed “But you have to! It will be fun! Other kids will be there your own age and there will be games and fun things to do!”
Martina would have none of it. Mother’s pleasant sounding bribes fell on little deaf ears. So, exasperated, Mom waved the driver on shaking her head at the stubborn cross-armed daughter that stood before her.
“Tommorow young lady, you’re going to Head Start.”
This program only lasted for 5 days and Mom thought “One day wont hurt. Tomorrow is a new day.”
New day, same thing….get ready, bus comes, no dice. Wednesday? Thursday? Forget about it. This sister had cornered the market on stubbornness. She was, as Mom put it, bull-headed.
The last day had come. The same routine. But Mom, standing at the front door in housecoat and slippers, would not be denied victory on this final day. Her daughter was going to get on that bus. And speaking of the bus, it rolled up, the door opened with the driver looking somewhat amused and bored as he waited for Mom to wave him on. But wait! Out of the front door, bursting like a bull out of a rodeo chute, ran Martina with Mother in hot pursuit like a football halfback, zig-zagging back and forth. The little girl tried to elude the longer legged stride of Mother chasing her from one side of the yard to the other. Martina’s little legs were churning for all they were worth while Mom, in her flapping housecoat and slip-on slippers, jumped and side-stepped a couple of piles of dog dung. Making a forward desperate lunge, she gathered Martina and delivered her to the step of the bus. She turned around, determined to exit.
Mr. Kahey yelled, “What shall I do?”
Mother yelled, “Get going! Take her!”
Amomg the hubub a little girl with the last name Flyingout said, “We will take care of her Mrs.Schiff! She will be ok!”
And with that the door closed and the bus drove out of the drive, the little round face of my sister pressing up against the back window, a tear in her eye.
Excessive you say? When Martina came home Mother met her at the door. Tears were streaming from the little girl’s eyes. Mother, feeling bad, told her it was for her own good and, holding her daughter, told her that today was the last day. With that Martina looked at her and said, “I know! That’s why I’m crying! I really liked it! I want to do some more!”
Well Martina did do some more…a lot more. She is revered as one of the best singers in country music and, for my money, any other genre as well. She has stepped out in front of millions of people onto the stage and through song and a rapport with her fans became an icon in the music industry. She married a man named McBride, a man of ambition himself. She had three beautiful daughters, and through her own perseverance and work ethic, her attention to detail, and God-given talent, became very successful. I would like to think in some small way her successful journey got a little kick when our mother gave her a little chase around the yard and a little head start.


One comment on “Head Start

  1. John Pounding Stone Marsischky

    Laughing til tears came here…Imagining her cute round, stubbornly set face with her mom chasing through that yard!! Maybe she should have tried telling Marti that she COULDN’T go! LOL With her stubborn streak she might have been racing to GO before her mom could stop her from getting on the bus! LOL You just made our morning here with that image!!!

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