Kid Stuff

Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years . . . He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years of Jehoiada the priest.(2 Chronicles 24:1-2)

When I was seven years old, I got slapped by a second grade girl. Her name was Kim. We were by the swing set at recess. I have no idea what I did to deserve that, but it’s stuck in my mind as my most significant accomplishment that year.

When I was seven, I watched cartoons on Saturday mornings. I liked Popeye, Spiderman, and Johnny Quest. I ate Captain Crunch cereal and then goofed around the rest of the day, accomplishing absolutely nothing. The only things I was responsible for the rest of the week were keeping my room clean and feeding the fish (the fish died). It was exhausting work.

When I was seven, I made a superhero’s mask out of a small paper bag. I cut eye holes in it and drew scary eyebrows with a black crayon. I safety-pinned a towel around my shoulders and grabbed a can of green beans (because we didn’t have any spinach). I then bolted around my neighborhood looking for evil bad guys. After about a half an hour I went home for lunch. My mom got mad at me for using one of her good towels.

When I was seven, I fell in love with a girl at the bottom of our hill. I bought a whole bag of candy with my own dollar and offered it to her like a sacrifice. She took it, tossed her hair, and, as I watched, shared it with her girlfriends. She handed me the bag of empty wrappers and the girls bounced away back down the hill laughing.

When I was seven, I got my first pair of glasses. They were the old-fashioned black plastic kind. They made me look like a dork. I accepted this fact with heroic stoicism. It was the first of many humiliations. I also had a lump of clear plastic installed over my bottom teeth. It had a prong designed to straighten one of my top teeth. The awkward oral contraption made me drool a lot and talk like Truman Capote.

When I was seven, I joined the Cub Scouts. I got a little blue uniform and a Cub Scout manual. Our “den” met in a dark cement basement in somebody’s house. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the Cub Scout pledge. I tied knots, made candles, and created a cross made from burnt wooden matches (my parents still have it). I earned some patches but never made it to the Wolf Scout level. I hated Cub Scouts.

When I was seven, I didn’t know anything about politics, except that the new president had a big nose and talked really slow. I didn’t know the names of my state’s governor or my city’s mayor. I didn’t know what taxes were or that there was a war going on somewhere. All I knew was that I needed a new baseball glove and another gun for my G.I. Joe doll.

When I was seven, I did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, mostly because I didn’t know any better.



3 Responses

  1. My parents had the wooden match cross I made when I was about that age. I’m hoping I got it somewhere when they moved out of their place about 2 years ago. Great stories Fred.

  2. Fred… it wasn’t the glasses.

    And the mayor was C. D. Johnson.

    Otherwise, a very nice story.

  3. I love that photo. And, of course, Johnny Quest.

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