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Double Barrel Slingshot Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dore Hayes   
Saturday, 14 March 2009 05:42

Growing up in Kitwe, one of my favourite shows to watch on TV was The Beverly Hillbillies -"Come 'n listen to my story 'bout a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. And then one day, he was shootin' at some food and up through the ground come a bubblin' crude. Oil, that is, black gold, Texas; tea." Remember that show?

My last year in primary school, I developed these mortifying growths on my chest. As a tomboy, I had no time for these things and it looked like I was one of the first to have them, to add insult to injury. I was raised by my father, who I am sure was not at all looking forward to this phase of development in my growth. When he noticed I was no longer flat chested, we had "the talk" about buying a bra and making sure that all the young ruffians at school kept their hands to themselves. And then we made the trek to the ladies dress store in Kitwe. I want to say Winifred's Someone will have to help me there. While my dad sat, blushing a deep red, in the chair outside the dressing room, the helpful older woman in the store brought a series of contraptions for me to try on. I was NOT AMUSED.... "Lean forward," she encouraged. "What for?? I'm not pouring them into a cup of tea," I snarled at her. Finally strapped into my mini straight-jacket, I sulked all the way home, with my puppy dog noses confidently pointed forward in a very uncomfortable bullet bra. Dad never said a word either, probably wishing he had been blessed with a son instead. My only consolation for this humiliating experience was the thought that I could look forward to seeing that week's episode of The Beverly Hillbillies.

I remember the episode clearly. It was as though Satan himself had sent it to rub salt into my wounds. Ellie Mae, who of course was much larger than I was, had purchased her first bra and Jethro, her rather slow brother, had happened across the bra. Not having a clue what its true purpose was, but deciding that it would really be an asset to his hunting, off he went with it, exclaiming aloud at his luck in finding a double-barreled slingshot. The episode was actually quite funny in retrospect, but I was NOT AMUSED.

Next day, in a thunderous mood, I strapped on my mini straight jacket again and arrived at school, ready to beat the tar out of anybody who made a comment to me. It felt like I was pointing out far enough that some poor boy shorter than me might run the risk of getting his eye poked out if he ventured too close. At break time, I was standing with a group of my girlfriends feeling very awkward, when three or four boys sauntered up, trying to be really cool in front of us. One of them, on a double dog dare no doubt, sidled up to me and twanged the back of the bra strap, cheekily asking if I had a double barreled slingshot on. I swung around and kicked that poor boy's legs out from under him before he had chance to say, ”Look mom, no teeth!" and the rest of the boys took off running.

I wore my jersey for the rest of the week, NOT AMUSED!!