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I have one predictable and one unexpected answer for this week’s prompt.
The predictable answer: books. I had several relatives who would send new books to me as Christmas and birthday presents. Between those gifts and the libraries I visited, I was always lucky enough to have something good to read.
The unexpected answer: earthworms.
Yes, I’ll explain this one.
After my two pet hamsters lived out full, happy lives and went to hamster heaven, my mother repurposed their old glass cage into a container to grow a few plants. She placed it in my bedroom.
I was about nine or ten at this point and wondered how my plants would fare if they didn’t have any earthworms to aerate and enrich their soil.
This thought bubbled to the front of my mind again the next time I went outside after a storm and saw earthworms lying on the sidewalk. Worried they might drown, I picked a few up, brought them home, and put them into the soil where they’d be safe from predators, careless humans, or future thunderstorms.
This was something I continued to do every so often without thinking to tell my parents about my private collection of rescued earthworms.
When I was eleven, my family moved a few thousand miles away to a new home. One of the last things we did before we moved was dump out the soil and plants from that container into the backyard.
My perplexed (and maybe slightly horrified) mother saw dozens of earthworms wiggling their way free as we emptied out the soil. She asked why there were so many of them, so I told her. Mom was too stunned to reply at first.
I didn’t get in trouble, but she did gently tell me not to rescue any more earthworms in the future. Apparently, they can fare quite well for themselves if you leave them to their own devices.
I’d like to think I amused my parents! If nothing else, they had ample proof they’d raised a compassionate child.