My favourite story was about Peter the Rabbit. Peter was a rambunctious little rabbit who hopped around town and got into trouble with the local farmer... Farmer Mac? I can't remember his name. Anyway, Peter would go into the farmer's field and eat all the carrots and then get chased away by the farmer. He had all sorts of adventures. I loved hearing about Peter the Rabbit.
Note: I realize that Granny didn't invent Peter the Rabbit. She used the basic story and made it her own. Why? 1) We didn't have the book for her to read it from. 2) She drank too much whiskey to remember all of the nuances of the original story. Case and point: one time she told me the story before bed; immediately after finishing the story, I asked to hear it again. I got a different version all of five minutes later.
Being raised in a city, you'd think that I would have had limited access to farmer's fields. But I was raised in Vancouver, BC, which seems to have a high per capita rate of backyard gardens.
I clearly remember this neighbour that lived down the alley from us. I guess the yard was elevated from alley-level because there was a steep concrete incline leading up to his fence. Most of his yard was a garden and the house was far enough away that gave me the illusion that it was actually a farm. I liked playing by his fence; pretending that Peter the Rabbit was in his garden stealing carrots.
When I grew weary of Peter the Rabbit games, the tiny little ledge also provided hours of gymnast training. I'd pretend it was a balance beam and prance around on it as if I was training for the Olympics.
Danny used the alley for different forms of entertainment, namely, burning rubber. (That's what we called it when you rode your bike really, really fast. Like, so fast, that the rubber on your tires burned off!*)
*dramatization - may not have happened
Basically, he rode his bike up and down the alley repeatedly. He'd ride by and ask if I saw how fast he went that time, or if I saw the pop-a-wheelie that he pulled. I'd ask him if he saw my balance beam routine. We both agreed enough to satiate the other, in hopes that next time, they might actually be watching the trick.
I remember one day, my brother had a friend over, which meant that I got to play by the fence without having to repeatedly tell Danny that he just did the "best pop-a-wheelie EVER!". It also meant that there was someone else in the alley that day; someone that was much more judgemental of me and my form of entertainment than my brother was. I guess Danny was used to it.
I can remember this kid asking my brother "What is your sister doing?!"; my brother replied "Oh, she's just doing gymnastics...". Looking back, I'm thankful for the way he responded; he very well could have said "Playing with her imaginary rabbit friend, named Peter.".
Regardless, his friend was an asshole and wanted to ruin my fun. He started riding by and yelling things at me trying to break my concentration. I was consumed in my own little world, so I didn't pay attention to him. This just fueled his need to knock me down a peg. Or to just knock me down.
He started riding up on the incline, like some sort of motocross stuntman, in the middle of my routine. The first few times, I just kept right on going. I real gymnast wouldn't let a motocross racer interfere with the routine, right?
But he started getting more and more determined; riding farther and farther up the incline; getting closer and closer to me. He was relentless. Eventually, I started feeling the wind brush past me as he sped by. I started getting scared. I started becoming less confident in my balance beam abilities. I was succumbing to the stress of two very different sports colliding
I fell. Right down the concrete embankment. Pretty much face first. He laughed. I cried. My brother asked "Did anyone see that pop-a-wheelie?". I ran home. My brother's friend yelled at me for being a scaredy-cat; he "wasn't actually going hit me". By the time I got home, the blood was pouring out of everywhere
When she got the blood cleaned up, it turned out that my wounds were superficial and "I'd live". It didn't feel like it; I was traumatized and I wanted to feel better. She started putting band-aids on my wounds; I wanted a band-aid everywhere it hurt. I had a cut on the inside of my upper lip, it hurt. Granny told me a band-aid wouldn't stick there; I told her to put it on the outside, like a moustache. Geez!
When my mom got home later that night, Granny told her to "go on in and see Patches". Mom came into my room and saw 75% of my face covered in bandages. She rushed out and demanded to know "What the hell happened?!". Granny told her my story; Mom suggested that we go to the hospital. Granny told her that I was fine, Mom said "But her face....". Granny said "Oh, Lolo, half those band-aids weren't even necessary. I just put them on to shut her the hell up!". Love ya, Granny!