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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

Welcome to ADHD

[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are truewithout exaggeration!]

Bridal Leah   How does a father protect his tiny blondie from grassland giants?

Few places in this world are safe for those of us with ADHD.

Fewer still are safe from ADHD-powered people, laughs Screen Six.

Oh, safe places exist for both sides, comments One. Nuclear reactor sites and farms are not among them.

I visit a single nuclear reactor site in my childhood. (Next-youngest brother Teddy and I take an instructional field trip to Consolidated Edison in upstate New York. The visit, narrated by brilliant metallurgical engineer and father Douglas Blackwell, wins glowing post-reactor reviews. Pun intended. Apologies withheld.)

Farms don’t always have cows. Ours does, however, and many nights the cows are lonely ladies, indeed, mooing and mooning for the day some beefed-up bull strolls their pasture.

Once yearly, their faint hopes are answered by Snuffy.

Do not, cautions Four, be fooled by his lightweight name. Snuffy is gargantuan, a Hereford with more neck muscles than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fact, shivers Three. What Snuffy wants, Snuffy takes.

Perfect example: when ol’ Snuff arrives at the farm to –

How will you explain the function of Snuffy and still keep this family-oriented? asks Two.

umm, “meet the ladies’ needs,” Farmer Joe separately pens him to provide calming adjustment time.

Hereford_bull_large“Calm” is not what Snuffy himself deems necessary, so he places his massive head between two six-by-six beams, shrugs his neck – just once – and snaps the beams, thereafter striding into the pasture to woo his shameless buffalo gals.

Adjustment complete, blushes Two.

I first meet Snuffy as I muck the cow stalls during Farmer Joe’s absence. To my right, the big bull is on the pasture side of those massive beams while I, blissfully unaware of Snuffy’s earlier beam-busting bravado, flip “chips” on the other. Joining this rural scene to my left is Leah, my bubbly daughter, a tiny toddler at times clinging to my knee or playing by herself on hay bales stacked high on the clean cement.

Stunned at the sizable pies produced by the ineffective digestive system of bovines – Scoop the poop! directs Five – I shovel mightily and gag readily. Soft sounds of mirth emanate often from the even tinier youngster safely playing nearby. Her intonation suggests questions are being issued, so I answer what I understand and simply let the rest waft among the odors floating on the winds.

Suddenly I realize a little girl’s voice is now to my right. That she asks questions of the bull himself. From inside his pen.

Fecal focus forgotten, Screen Six fires off one fearless thought:

Grab Leah!

Three theatrically prompts me to drop my shovel, hold out my hand and beckon the baby with deceitful words: “Hey, LeahBoBe-uh,” I squeak through constricted vocal pipes, “this chocolate sure is good. Want some?”

Leah’s own hyperfocus – that genetic ADHD trait I gave her – defeats me. She stands in front of the bull, stroking the monster’s wet nose and babbling into its nostrils. Silently praying, I re-issue my “chocolate” line. This time, Snuffy himself looks toward me. Angrily.

mucus madnessLeah, realizing she’s lost the creature’s attention, extends two little hands and tries to pull Snuffy’s face back down to hers.

He stamps a foot, swings those wicked horns, then snorts, blowing mucus matter into Leah’s surprised face. She coughs, toddles backward in dismay, and turns to me with a look that says, “Did you see that, Daddy? How dare he!”

At the first stamping of the bull’s foot, I had pressed against the confining beams, then dropped to my knees. Now a second stamping speeds heart rhythms as I mimic peeling and eating dozens of Hershey Kisses™, assuring Leah many such treats await her taste buds as well.

Leah responds with kisses of her own. Upon the giant’s nose.

I am going to hurl! exclaims Five.

Then my oh-so-innocent-but-unfazed blondie wipes her lips free of the unexpected slobber given in return and wobbles four steps to me. In one heart-pounding motion, I grab little hands, tug Leah precisely between the beams, snug her to my chest and jump-climb-claw five hay bales high.

Leaping tall buildings in a single bound! cheers Six.

Dumbfounded, Snuffy does not follow our lead. Leah, perched above the farming world, laments the absence of promised chocolate. And I shiver as the “ladies of the lilies” – our cows demurely waiting by the low-level swampland – call to their hefty hero, prompting him to stamp feet and swing horns in frenzy no tot would survive.

We should go, cautions Four in response to my steam engine-paced breathing. The stalls are mucked. No point in adding your pants to the list.


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Farm workPostscript: Leah, born on a Washington State farm, has the upper hand on her dad, who did not “know” cows until college and a Spring fling to rural Alabama.

Cutting through a farmer’s field without first securing permission, I run for the fence line when dairy demons thunder toward me. Shotgun-cradling Farmer Bill, displeased at my intrusion, demands I calmly walk – and do so among his critters. “Them cows won’t hurt you,” he says with a wicked laugh.

Panicked, I follow his directive, getting body-bumped more times than a New York bus rider amid pickpockets. Reaching the paddock’s end, I am soaked as much by taste-testing cow tongue (still attached) as by fear-induced sweat.

“Ever gonna do that again, son?” Farmer Bill calls the length of the field.

“Not in this lifetime,” I promise, unaware that Leah’s arrival a dozen years later would break that commitment.

That little girl, footloose and fearless as she dances among animals literally hundreds of times her weight, teaches me fun at its simplest, most natural level.

Dad-Daughter days on those green acres?  Priceless.

* * * * *

Blackie’s Weekly Wonders

(Happy Father’s Day! And happy 30th birthday to my favorite blondie!)

Slow down, my beautiful little Blondie (Nichole Nordeman)

When “ADHD Powered” people interrupt cow-versations

Dad and daughter dance in the damp