Waddle Like a Penquin (I bet lots of my readers had similar experiences)

The Button Box


When I was between 2 and 4 (in the early 50’s), we lived in the little house just off Main Street in Medicine Lodge. I can remember some snow storms that were pretty bad when we lived there. My Mom thought my dog Brownie and I should go outside at least a couple of times a day to play. She thought the fresh air would do us good.
She would bundle me up so I could go out with Brownie my Cocker Spaniel. He would wait patiently for Mom to get me ready. I am sure he was secretly glad that he didn’t have to undergo the nonsense I did just so I could outside.
First Mom would put a little undershirt and my socks on me and a soft shirt went over the undershirt. Then a second pair of socks that were a little heavier over the first pair. The next shirt and third layer was a long sleeve turtle neck shirt.
Now it was time for the pants. Over my thin silky underpants went a pair of skin tight pants, not the insulated they have now just a tight pair of corduroy pants. Over those was a pair of overalls with the straps that cross in the back.
I now have on three layers from top to bottom. You would think I am ready for the trip outside but NOOO that was not enough for Mom. It has now been about 10 minutes since mom started getting me into clothes as Brownie sits by the door tilting his head from side to side with each new layer of clothing.
When he’d tilt his head to the side and look at me I would give him a withering glare or stick my tongue out at him and he would just straighten his head up and open his mouth like he was smiling. I think this was funny to him and he thought it was pay back for all the times I dressed him up when we were playing.
Okay, now three layers of clothes are on my body and I weigh a couple of pounds more than I did. It is time for the snow suit. My snow suit was insulated and puffy. It had cuffs around the wrists to keep the snow and cold out. It also had lightweight feet, like a pair of bunny pajamas that covered the two pairs of socks.
Once it was on and it was zipped up the front to my chin, Mom would pull up the hood. It had a little tab and snap that held it in place that went around the neck under the chin. Now that the suit was on it was time for the final touches. We are now 15 minutes into the dressing game.
Out came the boots, not insulated like they are now but just rubber boots for rain or for snow. It was all Mom could do to stuff the snow suit and the two pairs of pants and two pairs of socks into them. But she would manage and my boots would be on.
I am surprised that Brownie wasn’t rolling on the floor with laughter by now with all the work she went through to get me dressed for a trip outside in the snow. Now came the wool scarf that she would wrap around my neck and up and over my nose so I didn’t breathe in the cold air. I hated the scarf because it made my face itch.
The last thing Mom put on me was my wool gloves and I hated the feel of them. But she put them on me and then pulled up the attached mittens of the pink snow suit over them. When she was content that I had enough clothes on I was ready for my trip out in the cold and snow.
Brownie seemed to know that we had arrived at the final stage of getting me ready when the mittens went over my hands, because he would jump to his feet and bounce up and down. He had been ready to go out for 20 minutes but had patiently waited on me.
Mom would open the door and Brownie would stick his nose out and sniff. I would look around the outside door and as soon as the cold air hit us both in the face we started to back up. He decided he didn’t have to go that bad and I certainly didn’t want to go out in it either.
But Mom had other ideas and she would push Brownie out with her foot and push me out the door with her right hand as she held the door open with her left. She was now set for some time alone to get something done while we were outside.
Once we were outside Brownie would start to run circles in the snow, I think he enjoyed a few minutes of running in the snow but as soon as he got his business done he was ready to go back in where it was warm. It would take me a few minutes to manage to get down the step of the porch in the snowsuit. It is hard to walk when your legs won’t bend. I am sure I looked like a penguin with black feet when I was out in the snow.
I could not put my arms down to my sides; they hung out at an angle from my body. There was enough room under my arms to carry a large loaf of bread. I would waddle around watching Brownie run in circles. I couldn’t even bend over if I had wanted to. If I had fallen down in the snow I would have been there until Mom heard me screaming.
I would keep my eye on Brownie and when he was done we would head back to the door. He would jump onto the porch and wait by the door as I waddled around. Since my knees could barely bend I would have to work at it to get my foot up on the step. Once I managed to get both feet on the porch, I would start pounding on the door.
It might take a few times of pounding on the door before Mom would come and let us in but I was not going to give up. Neither Brownie nor I wanted to be out in the cold and the snow a minute longer and I was determined to get back in the house.
We had spent a total of no more than 5 minutes out in the snow and cold but we were both ready for the warm house and to spend time in my bedroom with my toys. Mom must have been a glutton for punishment to spend 20 minutes getting me ready for only 5 minutes outside. But I am sure she had a laugh watching me waddle like a penguin. To contact Sandy: [email protected]


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