Margaret Shumate column: A bag of Mischievous Magical Moments

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By Margaret Shumate

For The Salisbury Post

Let’s share a bag of childhood Mischievous Magical Moments. Dipped in Crayola colors, some are plain, some are nutty, but all are delicious. They melt in your heart, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I was 15 when my first nephew, David, was born. The sparkle in his big brown eyes immediately warmed us and warned us to watch out ahead. Very early on, he became Dusty and the nickname stuck like glue even to this day.

Dusty became a great animal lover at an early age. Once his mother, my sister, became quite alarmed when the goldfish disappeared from their bowl. After a perplexing search, she turned back the covers of Dusty’s bed and found them lying beside him.

He was concerned they might be too cold in the water and he was just trying to help keep them warm.


Fast-forward to a Saturday evening dinner at Pat and Mick’s Fish Camp in New London. While my mom, Dusty’s parents and I were finishing our meal, Dusty sneaked behind us, crawled up on a chair and poured huge mounds of salt, sugar and pepper on top of the table. Proud of his artwork, he was a happy camper until his embarrassed mother intervened.

After an appropriate scolding, he looked up at her with those big brown eyes, sniffing while trying to hold back crocodile tears, and loudly announced, “Mama, you blame me for everything I do!”

Fast-forward once more. Dusty is in school and now has a younger sister and brother. Of course, he loves his siblings very much — but he’s still Dusty! There is only one banana left in the fruit bowl and Dusty dearly loves bananas. Always looking forward to an afternoon snack, he masterminds a plan and then is off to school.

Look closely in the fruit bowl and you will find a note in large print attached to the lone banana. It reads, “This banana belongs to Dusty!”

And speaking of roller skates, my younger brother, Stan, got a shiny pair from Santa Claus one Christmas. But they, too, became MIA just like Dusty’s goldfish.

Guess what? Our mother finally found them attached to his feet under the bed covers.

I also loved my roller skates. I was 7 when my mother brought baby sister Paula home from the hospital. She was so tiny and cute. I begged and begged my mom to please let me hold her.

The answer was an emphatic “No!”

So, as she was still bed-confined, I carefully plotted my revenge. I strapped on my skates and began skating all through the house, making as much noise as I possibly could.

Over the noise, however, I could still hear those chilling words — “Your father will be home soon to deal with you, young lady.”

That was more than enough to cause ME to suddenly become MIA, skates and all.

I’m so sorry — I really didn’t meant to take all the red ones with nuts, but as you can see, they are my very favorites!

Favorite memories, that is.

Margaret Thompson Shumate lives in Salisbury.