No Place for BiddiesSeptember 30, 2011

An excerpt from The Thrill of the Chase, A Memoir by Forrest Fenn. The book may be purchased from Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, New Mexico, phone 505-988-4226.

Lots of people are always saying that youth shouldn’t be wasted on the young. What a stupid thing to say. Of course youth should be wasted on the young. That’s when kids start to be noticed as real people instead of just babies. For instance, I remember when I was about eight and overheard two ladies talking. They were neighbors who lived down the block, and both thought they were better than me because they lived in a brick house. One said to the other, talking about me of course, “He’d run away from home but he’s not allowed to cross the street,” and they laughed real hard and didn’t even care who heard. How humiliating do you think that was for a kid my age? And sure enough, it had to happen at the big church social when absolutely everyone was there. Well, I didn’t say anything out loud at the time but I certainly remembered, and I’ve loathed those old biddies ever since. They were a lot older than me, probably at least thirty, and both were married although I can’t imagine how they put that together. How intimate they were with their husbands is probably a matter of academic dispute anyway because the tall one was the best excuse I can think of for zero population growth.


Besides, I could cross the dumb street anytime I wanted to and it was stupid of them to say I couldn’t. I walked to school almost every day didn’t I? And cars were whizzing every which way weren’t they? But just to be safe, my mother always told me to wear clean underwear in case there was an accident. She was smart like that and I usually did what she said because I loved her so much. She was a perfect example of nature’s long-sightedness and everyone around our block knew it. And just to prove the point, when I walked to school I always watched where I put my feet on the sidewalk. “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.” I always remembered that one, and that’s why my mother was so proud of me.

And as far as running away from home was concerned, no kids ever did that back then because they just didn’t. Those things came later when girls started making trouble. Anyway, those two old biddies are probably long since dead and what do I care? That’ll teach those two.

Drawings courtesy of Allen Polt

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