Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Published Sept. 30, 2004

Good Karma

Ten years ago I wrote a ďchildrenís storyĒ and asked my Mother to illustrate it. It was to be a mother/son project.  It was about the time, when I was four years old, that Mom locked me in my room. Sounds as gruesome as a fairy tale doesnít it? The project died a stillbirth because the story was so politically incorrect. Motherís shouldnít lock their children in their rooms.

Several of my Motherís water color illustrations for the project hang in my office. My Brother and Sister fought me for them when my Mom cleaned out her portfolio but I but I claimed priority.

I was reminded of this today while reading ďDear Abby.Ē She has been publishing a series of letters about children who were locked in their rooms. It began with a concerned grandmother who fretted about her daughter who was locking her child in his room so that she could leave the house. Today Abby published replies from people who had traumatic tales to tell of children burned in fires or strangled in their cribs while locked in their rooms. Mom and I were luckier.

My story was about the time Mom wanted a nap and decided that because she was tired I should take a nap. When my Mother put me in my room and shut the door I played tug-o-war with her to get back out. After several days of this game my Mother grew weary of it and put a latch and hook on my door. I was defeated, or so it appeared.

After a futile tantrum I turned my attention to Ö. Oh, I donít knowÖ.letís just call it "Karma." Thank goodness I didnít have any matches in my closet (although, come to think of it, I did have a match book collection in there). Fortunately, Karma found me before carnage.

My alert four-year-old eyes locked on a little hole in my screen window. I stuck my finger through it. In short order I had two fingers in the hole and not long afterward my whole hand.

We lived in a second floor apartment and my room overlooked the driveway. Two floors below my waving hand Fred was working in the garage. Fred was our apartmentís caretaker.

In short order my stuffed bunny plummeted to the driveway followed by all my other stuffed animals as well as any other object I could fit through the ever widening hole. Fred only noticed the growing mound on the driveway well after I had denuded my room. By the time he woke my Mother from her nap there was little left in my room but the furniture.

Iíve always enjoyed this story because nobody got hurt. Of course, the time I did start a fire no one got hurt either because the fire fighters put out our lawn before the fire consuming it reached the apartment. Iím sure that Fred was relieved when we finally moved out.  Unfortunately, a story about a child locked in his room is as tremble inducing as the thought of leaving children with a neighborís pit bull or locked in a car on a hot, sunny day. Now when I want that kind of reaction I just write about politics.

My sleepy Mother always thought that she wanted me to be an artist but all I wanted to do was make people laugh. The truth was that what my mother really wanted was to be an artist herself. As for me, I couldnít tell a joke to save myself. When I got a little older I decided I should be the President of the United States but that turned out to be another one of my poorly told jokes.

Mom did indeed become an artist. She moved to the big city and rented a studio in a warehouse. My home and those of my siblings are galleries devoted to her watercolors. Alas, because of a slowly encroaching forgetfulness my Mother no longer paints.

In my last column I mentioned, incidentally, that I was painting a mural in my church. Because that project required all the artistic skill of filling in a coloring book I canít say that my Motherís wishes for me have been fulfilled. However, Iím going to take some acrylic paints with me this afternoon and go down and visit her. Iím going to take a crack at painting her portrait. Maybe I can find a little more good Karma.

Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com