Published September 3, 2023

Not as it Seems 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Kim Fundingsland
Kim Fundingsland

A Slice of Life

Sometimes a person believes the way he or she sees things is the way other people do too. But that’s a generalization, especially when it comes to kids.  

Children have a much different way of looking at things than adults. Often a much more logical way, at least from their point of view. Allow me a few examples to illustrate. 

After finishing a meal at my parents' house, my mother served up a dessert that was topped with whipped cream. Yum! It was delicious. 

Since she made plenty, mom asked who would like another serving? Several at the table quickly said yes, except for a younger relative of mine. His reply was a sort of yes, asking for a mound of whipped cream with nothing under it. 

Another such incident happened on a narrow highway in Minnesota enroute to a family reunion when dad got behind a semi hauling a load of very large pipes. It seemed like it took forever before it was safe to pass.  

When we got to the reunion, several minutes later than expected, one of the very young passengers told others that it was because we “got slowed down by a load of holes.” 

It took a few moments to figure that one out but, from a child’s point of view. 

When my girls were small, I owned a wonderful golden retriever, Spice. Obedient. Loved to play with the kids. The perfect family dog. 

One day at the lake a beach toy got washed out into deep water. I told my girls not to cry and sent Spice on a long swim to retrieve it. When Spice brought the toy back, shook water off, and got a well-deserved pat on the head, I asked my youngest what she thought of Spice now. 

The answer was an honest one -- “She’s got too many feet.” I’d never thought of a dog like that before. 

A few years ago, I gave a series of historical talks to grade school kids at several different schools. The subject was frontier history, what it was like in the early days on the plains.  

I told one class a story about Lt. Col. Custer, who would become commander at Fort Abraham Lincoln south of Mandan. Custer was riding his wife’s horse, Custis Lee, when he dashed across the prairie in pursuit of a buffalo bull. Unfortunately, when he drew his revolver, it discharged and killed the horse, leaving the famous colonel alone in an endless sea of grass. 

I had hoped the story would help bring to life what it was like in the days before settlement became commonplace in the region. I’m not certain that was the case. I say that because I always asked the teacher to have the school kids write down a sentence or two about what they learned, liked, or remembered from my appearance. 

One of the replies, which I still have, was a classic. “Don’t shoot when you’re on your wife’s horse.” 

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