My First Protest

Some recently asked me, what my first protest was? I wasn't able to answer the question at the time, so I had to give it some thought. I think they meant to ask what my first public protest was but: The reality is that protest is really complaining through actions or demonstrations. The first complaint I remember had something to do with sharing my unbroken toys with my younger brothers who were very prone to breaking their own toys. I think I was about six or seven at the time and my dad's answer was if you don't like it leave.

I may not of understood protesting, but this lead to my first protest, I put on my jacket and went out the door. I didn't have any place to go, but I wanted to teach my dad a lesson, so I crawled under the front porch and sat to see what would happen. After about 20 minutes or so my father realized that I took him literally and came outside shouting my name. I sat under the porch and continued my little protest. Soon my dad was out driving around the neighborhood looking for me and shouting my name. Still I waited, after some more time went by and my dad's voice was raw from yelling, I thought dad may have learned his lesson, so came out from my hiding space, walked up behind him and said "what do you want".

I got the beating of my life that day, and I learned a lesson; "Don't piss dad off". This lead directly to my love of the outdoors, because the easiest way to not piss off dad was to avoid him at all costs. This lead me to spending a great deal of time in the woods, often sitting in trees and reading.

Behind our house was woods and unused fields, which became an extension of our yard by proxy. When I was twelve, the term Eminent domain entered my life when the township decided to build a new sewer plant behind our house in "my field". In doing so they surrounded the complex with an ugly chain link fence. I didn't like the sewer plant or the the fence so I planted some flowering vines along the fence row. Soon the fence was covered with vines and flowers and the township came by and sprayed herbicide killing off the enhanced beatifications I had added. We complained but, It seems the fence was built three feet away from the property line and we had no standing in beautifying it.

I was one outraged 12 year old and had to do something about it. We had always had gardens in our back yard, and pulling weeds was one of my fathers favorite punishments and the number one weed enemy was wild morning glories. They grow up from the old roots are very hard, actually close to impossible to get rid of. So I decided to commit an act of eco-terrorism, not that I knew the term, I just knew what I had to do. Quietly on the weekends and early evenings when no workers were present at my least favorite eye sore, I dug up and carefully transplanted all the wild morning glories I could find. Soon they took hold and covered the fence and the sewer workers returned to spray them away again and again. It turns out that wild morning glories also are somewhat resistant to herbicides and I won in my first battle against city hall.


My First Protest

I recently took a trip back to the home of my youth and and thirty-six years later, I was surprised and happy to see that same fence still covered with wild morning glories and suddenly I realized the answer to that question...


Ronald E. Gascon




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