The roses bud by April along with the “banana tree” that I grew up playing hide and seek behind. The Honey Sickle bushes that surround the front of my gates and bloom with tiny white flowers give the red brick house, that I spent my first fourteen years, the illusion of a cottage, tucked away in a secluded part of the wilderness and not the openness of the deserts of New Mexico. Long summer days seem to drag on and on, with nothing to do and nothing to play. With three other siblings sometimes it was hard to entertain ourselves, especially for me. My Mother once told me that I had no imagination at the time I didn’t know what an imagination was and since I didn’t have one I thought I was going to get sick and die. My oldest sister Jenny did not have this problem she could dream up anything. One particular summer Jenny dreamt up the “Ambush,” which has always and always will stay with me.
My Dad and I had both just gotten super soakers as gifts for my birthday and for Fathers Day, and that is when the “Ambush” appeared in Jenny’s mind. All growing up Jenny was the one planning games and activities for the rest of us. Maybe it was because she was the oldest or maybe it was because she was the one with the biggest imagination. We spent the whole afternoon planning, each one of us kids had our part, and so did my mom. The plan was as soon as my dad got home from work my mom would usher him out the back door, saying that the kids had something to show him. That is where we would ambush him. It was real genius in our eyes. I felt like I was the most important because I had the biggest gun and everyone kept asking to borrow it, but of course as an eight year old would, I said “No,” quite frankly.
My Dad worked long hours and wouldn’t get home until around seven or eight this is how he provided for his family. My mother is a stay at home mom and it was always her goal in life just to take care of her family. When my Dad got home that night we were in luck he wasn’t too tired. Looking back at that summer night, I believe my mom probably spoiled the surprised and warned him about what was to come. My Dad headed towards the door, and there we stood, all four of us in proud line, Jenny as our captain. She yelled fire and that’s what we did. The look on my Dads face as we soaked him is still priceless in my mind.
After the initial blast, Jenny handed my Dad his gun to make the war fair, and that is when it turned from having an army of soldiers on your side to every man for himself. Water flew everywhere; we used trees, tables, and slides as our forts. If you could get to the garden hose you were suppose to just refill and leave, but everyone was using this as their gun. Suddenly I was out of ammo. What was I going to do? My dad was standing guard of the garden hose laughing, spraying anyone who came close to the hose. And that is when I realized that we had two garden hoses, the other in the front yard. I made my escape quick and fast. I reached the hose safely and refilled, I wanted to get back to the action.
As I rounded the last corner I only saw one thing in my way, a wooden fence that connected to the cinder block wall we shared with our neighbors. I put down my weapon, stood on my tip toes, and stretched with all my might to look over the fence. My eyes peeked over like a hunter in the forest. And there I saw her, my sister Angie, with her pants down, well not literally, but she was out in the open and unarmed. Angie is almost three years older than me, but usually does not act that way. I believe it’s for the attention. My Dads favorite quote is “Act your age, not your shoe size.” I believe that he is only talking to Angie, and not me, when he chooses to use that quote.
“Perfect!” I thought to myself.
I began the ascent up the cement wall on the side. I was unfamiliar with this wall, two years previous my Dad had put two wooden fences in on either side of the house, but this one did not open, so I would have to go over it and not through it. I could not drop my gun on the other side or leave it on one for fear of it being stolen by a thief (a brother or a sister.) So I climb on. I was about one foot off the ground now, and getting worried, I was unsteady and nervous. And then the worst happened. Then neighbor’s dogs rounded the bend and began barking at me, loud cannon barks, louder than I have ever heard.
Our next door neighbors were very nice people. They had three kids and two dogs. My brother and I would go over and play at their house almost every afternoon they had a swing set that was bright blue and sunny yellow and when you swung on the swings, I promise, you almost touched the sky. To us it was far better than our worn out and used wooden set the slide wasn’t nearly as high and nothing could replace the teeter-totter they had. The only problem was that their dog Cody never liked me. The summer before the Ambush, Cody had bitten the back of my leg after I had decided to have a staring contest with him. Apparently animals don’t like to be stared at, and I, I had to learn that the hard way. But ever since then Cody had always scared me, and there he was barking like a mad woman two feet away.
But there she came, my oldest sister Jenny, to ultimately save me. She told me to hand me the gun while I hopped over, so that I could steady my step. Could she be trusted? Jenny has always been there for me and is a comforting person, it’s her nature. She was always like that and will always be that way. So I decided it was a chance I was willing to take, a chance I had to take. I handed over my weapon, I felt a little bit defeated inside.
I continued my journey up the wall of five feet. I was almost over, the last leg of my journey, the dogs still barking and jumping--when I almost slipped. I decided to use the neighbor’s chain link fence to prop myself over. Big mistake, as I did this Cody, the dog, my sworn enemy, was their waiting. His dark chocolate mane reminded me of wet mud, his yellow eyes stared right into mine, and his teeth like knives moisten with gallons of slobber. In those seconds we made eye contact, and then he lunged and bit. Next thing I knew I was on my butt.
“Hurry up Peggy-- they are going to find us!” Jenny yelled
Jenny’s back had been turned; it was her job to keep watch. She turned around to find me back on my side of the wall. You could only imagine her annoyance that I still had not made it over the wall. Before she could yell at me further I stood up and raised my left hand. Jenny and mine eyes were matching, both as big as watermelons, the hand that was propping me up on that fateful chain link fence was now streaming with a, deep, dark, red, blood. Cody had bitten me.
As I began to cry Jenny began to scream, no one bothering to pay any attention to us, lost in their own worlds of laughter and water. I headed towards the front door while clutching my wound screaming as if I were dying. Jenny ran in the back to alert the media that Peggy once again had managed to get herself in quite a predicament. When I got to the front door it was locked, for my mother did not want people running in out of her house wet and screaming. I rang the door bell over a hundred times, but she could not hear. She was watching and listening to the festivities on the other side, a world away.
Jenny finally reached my Mom on the other side of the planet, who was watching her family with enjoyment from the kitchen window while she did the dishes, and told her to answer the door. What seemed like five hours and a million tears later my mother came to my rescue like all mothers do to their injured children. We didn’t go to the doctors until the next day. Four x-rays later we received the verdict; four broken bones. I wore a cast for the next twelve weeks and when school started I didn’t have to play basketball in gym class, which seemed like the most exciting thing to me.
I don’t have many memories from my childhood that I can remember, but this one I do and it’s not because of the dog bite. That bite didn’t ruin anything it just made things a little more interesting. That summer night when the water was flying and my whole family was laughing everything was perfect, everyone was happy.