“I stood on the giant boulders; then started jumping…”

I think we all had and have moments in life when we didn’t listen to someone’s warning and ended up embarrassed. Sometimes those warnings come from friends, mentors, siblings, and especially from parents. And there’s been a few times in my life I didn’t listen to someone’s warning.

Coming from the Sonoran desert, I’ve had my share of stories involving cacti. When my parents would take us to the southern part of the state, my siblings and I would get a chance to eat prickly pears. Anytime I had a scrape on my leg, my Mom would send me to our front yard to break a piece of the aloe vera cactus, and then rub the broken end on my cuts and scrapes. My sister and her friends once pushed this jerk kid into a patch of prickly pears. I’ve ran into small saguaros with bare feet more times than I would like to count. I once got a jumping cactus stuck in my leg when I tried out for my high school golf team (needless to say, I didn’t make the golf team and played football). But probably the most memorable experience was when I was 6 years old.

I stood on the giant boulders; then started jumping from one boulder to the next pretending there were giant alligators beneath me. My Dad said, ”Don’t play on those rocks.” I said, ”Okay,” and got down. My Dad went to his faculty and staff meetings and I climbed back on the rocks. No sooner than I started jumping again, I fell off one of the giant builder. I scraped my leg through my jeans and could feel the warm blood start to drip down the side of my calf. No big deal. My jeans would stop the bleeding. I started jumping again and the second time around, I would regret it.

I jumped and I fell, but this time to the backside of the boulders. Where there was an abundance of barrel cacti. Thankfully I only rolled a few times, but it was enough for thorns to get stuck all around my legs, butt, and back. I wobbled over toward my Mom and let he know what happened. My Mom took me to the room we were staying in, and plucked as many thorns as she could find. I don’t know if it’s more embarrassing to have your Mom pick thorns from your butt with your pants down. Or admitting you didn’t listen to a warning you had minutes earlier. Either way, both happened to me. And anytime I don’t heed someone’s warning and end up embarrassed, it’s another reminder to stay off the rocks.

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