Chapter 7. The Legacy of Right and Wrong: Learning from Mom and Dad

I flew into the house in a burst of speed, screen door snapping shut behind me. Frantically pulling drawers open and half-slamming them in equal time, my 10-year-old hands rummaged through scant belongings to find the Scotch Tape, a needle and thread, and a roll of masking tape. Checking to see that no one had spotted my transgression, I turned on my heels, Keds nearly laying rubber on the kitchen linoleum.

My friend Danny was gone by now; he had run home to his yard of safety and intact tree branches, while I was pinned to the earth in my land of mistakes, working nervously to repair the damage before Dad returned home.

I didn't mean to do it, of course. I usually climbed the sturdy old pine in our backyard when I needed solitude. But this time, no thanks to the neighbor boys, I had made the unlucky decision to wiggle my way out onto the delicate maple behind the garage and next to our rabbit pen. And I guess that day I wiggled a tad too far, because before I could drop to my salvation, I heard the distinctive and unquestionable snap that comes when weight overtakes wood.

Branch still hanging askew despite its newly acquired bandage of tape and thread, my frenetic hands stopped repairing when I heard car tires chomping the gravel at the end of our driveway. I looked with disdain at my shoddy work and quickly ran away, removing myself from the scene of the crime.

The din of man and shoes came near and my body signaled ...

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