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When I was a child... - Denese Rodgers

When there is nothing more than me and a sunrise, sometimes I think of how I've morphed. I say morphed, because some parts of me are still a kid, and I'm most definitely a work in progress.

In a lot of ways, I feel like my inside-Denese hasn't changed, but there is a range of things that are different:

As a child, I loathed and detested spinach. Now, I request it as a treat -- cooked or raw. Same with turnip greens. Those used to be torture. Now, I'll spend a whole Saturday cooking them and savoring the aroma.

I have not changed my mind about actual turnips, however, or asparagus. I cannot conceive why those were ever cooked by anyone in the first place. I swear that I thought asparagus was my mother's way of getting us to leave the dinner table in a hurry. And hollandaise sauce -- yuck! But I can pretty much make do with ketchup or horse radish, if it comes down to it.

Also, when I was a child, a whole week without TV or the telephone constituted punishment. Now, it is what I will pay extra for on my vacation to a tropical paradise. I can remember begging to stay up and watch "Disney" or "The Carol Burnett Show." Now, other than a couple of my addictions ( "24," "Fringe," "Law & Order") and the morning news, I don't even turn the idiot box on.

"Idiot box" was my late father's oh-so-fitting appellation for the television. He even told me way before cable that Cable TV would eventually rule the airwaves.

When I was young, I couldn't imagine going out in public without every hair in place and a matching ensemble. One of my friends accused me of wearing "Grrranimals for Adults." Now there are days that I look like the wreck on the Hesperus, and just get tickled when I get to play in the dirt.

Playing in the dirt is one of those things that has not changed, and as late as yesterday, I scraped my knee playing on some rocks.

Flowers and birds. When I was a kid, flowers were something you gave mom once a year. Now, I will spend a small fortune to plant futile tulips in my front landscaping. I say "futile" because the malicious deer in my yard lie in wait until they bloom, and then they bite the blooms off just as they are starting to open. Now, I'd give a king's ransom to find a place to score a Cherokee Rose.

And my birds ... Other than taking an empty bird's nest to school for Show & Tell, I couldn't have cared less about birds. Now, we have tastefully decorated Red & Black bluebird's houses (complete with tin roofs) dotting our yard. My feeder supports titmouse, chickadees, cardinals, and yellow finches that look like they've been painted with an iridescent brush.

Last, but not least is rocking. Rocking as a kid was what I did to Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band. Now, I have two Amish, bentwood gliders where I really rock, and sigh nostalgically as KC still hops around on whatever show will permit him to make a vain attempt to recapture his own youth. I like my way much better.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.