The Power of Stealth
By Jo Elizabeth Pinto
Good morning campbellsworld visitors and parents everywhere.
This morning mother and author Jo E. Pinto is back with a wonderful tale.
I especially love this one because it brings back a memory from when my daughter was young. Which I’ll share after Jo’s wonderful post.
I hope you all enjoy this as much as did I.
When you’re through enjoying this please read further. Jo has written a most excellent book and you will not want to miss out on reading it.
My ten-year-old daughter Sarah won a prize this morning for completing an obstacle course at the library while making the least amount of noise. Yeah, I know. my kid. It was probably the quietest five minutes and eleven seconds she’s ever had in her whole waking life, and most of her sleeping life, too.
The obstacle course had been designed to make noise. Two library staff members presided over it, one with a timer and the other with a decibel meter.
First Sarah put on a hula skirt and dance for thirty seconds. She was proud of her hula moves, having learned some basic techniques in an after-school dance program she attended last year.
Then she ditched the hula skirt and picked up three round wooden sticks, a little longer than pencils.. The challenge was to balance one stick crosswise on the other two and carry it a few yards without touching it or dropping it on the linoleum floor, which would make noise. Unlike most of the kids, who stood up and walked or scurried with the sticks, Sarah bent over and tiptoed with them close to the ground. That way when she dropped the stick she was balancing and it hit the floor, it barely made a sound.
After the sticks came a tunnel made of jingle bells, toy tambourines, maracas, and other noisy nuisances. Most of the children who ran the course before had bulled their way through the tricky tunnel, choosing to get it over with quickly and move on. But my crafty kid got down on the floor and slithered underneath the beads and bells, missing most of them altogether.
After the tunnel, Sarah encountered a relay. She had to carry a spoon in each hand, one holding a plastic egg and the other holding a cat toy. Again, she crouched down close to the floor so that if she dropped her treasures, they wouldn’t make noise. She didn’t drop them.
Next Sarah had to roll a die to see if she was required to honk a horn. Luck was not in her favor. She squeezed a bike horn. It squawked, and she moved on. She had to sit on a balloon and bounce, but she took the shock in her knees, barely touching the balloon.
Sarah’s last test was to roll in an office chair that had bells and bead shakers tied to it. She scooted slowly and carefully over to a green bucket and dropped a ball gingerly into it. The bucket had jingle bells in the bottom, but she dropped the ball in so gently it hardly disturbed the bells.
The decibel meter didn’t go over fifty the entire time Sarah ran the obstacle course. The average reading on the meter while nobody was running the course was forty-one.
I asked her how she managed to do the course so silently. She said, “I watched what other kids did that made noise, and figured out some tricks.”
Hmmm. Now if only I could come up with a way to keep her that quiet around the house without letting her hang out in front of a TV or a computer screen.
It came to me as we walked home from the library that Sarah, unlike the other kids she had run the obstacle course with, whose parents rely on their sight to supervise them, has had a lifetime of experience with auditory stealth tactics. That may have given her an advantage on the obstacle course. Not that she’s an overly sneaky child, but all children try to see what they can pull over on their parents now and then.
Since I depend on my sense of hearing to keep track of everything in my environment, Sarah has had a lot of practice with moving silently when she wants her whereabouts to be undetected. For the most part, she’s given up on secrecy.
When she was a toddler, I put a plastic box of Tic-Tacs in her pocket or taped it to the back of her shirt so I could hear it rattling and keep track of her by the sound. As she’s gotten older, I’ve taught her that answering me when I call her name, especially outside our house, is absolutely non-negotiable. Otherwise, we stop whatever we’re doing and go straight home or, if that’s impossible, sit out the fun till it’s time to leave. We’ve only had to do that once or twice; the lesson has stuck.
Sarah and her friends are often surprised how much I can tell about what they’re doing by the sounds I hear. I usually know which snacks they’re grabbing from the fridge, what they’re watching on TV, who’s getting excluded from the latest crazy game they’ve concocted, and when somebody needs a hug and why.
After all, it’s the job of a mom to have a handle on what’s happening with her child, always and everywhere. If she doesn’t have eyes to see, she better have ears to hear.
Patty back to ask, did I not tell you that was excellent?
It made me remember something from when my daughter was about 10-years-old.
One night she had a couple friends over. I was lying in bed reading a talking-book with one ear and listening to the goings on in the other room with the other.
Suddenly, ‘Rattle Rattle’
“Hey! Get out of those!”
“They’re for lunch tomorrow.”
My daughter’s friend asked.
“How did she know what we were doing?”
My daughter answered.
“Mom has super hearing. Told you she’d hear you.”
Now, would you like to know more about author Momma Jo?
If so please keep reading. I promise the only way you’re going to be disappointed is if you do not buy and read this book.
“The Bright Side of Darkness” Is an award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
About the author…
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
Rick Myers, an orphan without much faith in the future, and Daisy Bettencourt, a blind girl who is running from an alcoholic father and a set of overprotective foster parents, cross paths at a high school baseball game and make their way together. Daisy becomes the bright spot in Rick’s universe as he and his four lifelong friends–Tim, Mark, and the twins–battle the forces of poverty and hopelessness. Mark’s grandma dies of heart failure, and Tim’s stepdad is arrested on felony child abuse charges, leaving them, like Rick and Daisy, with no authority figures in their lives.
Rick and Daisy are trailed by a fat man in a battered green jeep who makes Rick more and more uneasy as the weeks pass. Then, just when Rick discovers an interest in the culinary field and decides to complete his education, the bottom drops out of his world.
There’s nothing a damn bit bright about sunshine when you’re seventeen and you see it from the wrong side of a jail cell window.
It isn’t that I’m moping for my lost freedom or anything. I wouldn’t give a half a crap for my life anymore now that the crew is scattered to the four winds, and all I have left of Daisy is her parting note in the waistband of my jeans and a wilted dandelion dangling between my fingers. But it seems to me that the Man Upstairs could have marked my downfall with a terrific thunderstorm or at least a few nasty black clouds out of the west.
When there’s a war or a funeral or some other sad thing going on in the movies, the sky usually turns dark and ugly, and the rain pours down in buckets. The longer I stare at the square of sunlight streaming through the tiny window of my cell and stealing across the floor, the lonelier I feel. August 27, 1986, is slipping by the same as every other hot, heavy day, and I’m the only one in the world who knows that nothing will ever be all right again.
It hasn’t always been this way. I ought to have known better than to believe I could reach out and snag a piece of paradise, but for a little while I had it on my fingertips. Breaks are hard to come by for kids from the projects, though, and sure enough, all I ended up with at the last second was empty hands.
I’m doing my level best to hold off a flood of memories, but my mind keeps drifting back to the sweltering summer evening when the chain of events began that shattered my world into a zillion pieces. First thing tomorrow morning, some juvenile court judge will decide if my life is worth rebuilding. Maybe he’ll have better luck with my future than I did with my past.
If you would like to contact Author Jo E Pinto please feel free to e-mail:
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