The story of colours (English spelling of color) in my life started when there was a blackout in the Second World War. My mother lived in London, England and every time there was an air raid she would spend the blackout in the shelter. During one air raid, my mother didn't hear the sirens as she had fallen asleep. She had left her curtains open and had left the lights on. You were not allowed to leave your curtains open during a blackout because the lights could be used by the bombers to find London more easily. There was no gray area where blackouts were concerned. The local authorities had given her a black mark for having failed to close her windows. That was when all the blackness (bad things) had started to follow my family. After the war my mother had married a Canadian soldier and moved to Canada. The rest of her family in England were very upset that she had left England and she became the black sheep of her family. My dad was a big sports fan and over the years he liked to watch his team on the television, but he hated it when his team played home games because there would be a blackout of the game and he would have to read about the results in the newspaper the next day. One Black Friday when he was supposed to be at work he stayed home to watch a playoff game. He told his boss that he got a black eye on the loading dock. When he went to work the next day he forgot about his fake black eye. His boss took one look at him and knew that he had skipped work and said that he would put a black mark on his worksheet. He tried telling his boss that he had said blacked out not black eye but his boss didn't believe that story either, and told him that he was giving him another black mark for lying and that if he got one more black mark he would be fired. My mom was the black sheep of the family for leaving England and now my dad had a black mark on his work record. Things were looking black for my family.

That's when I was born and I began to colour their lives in new ways. When I was born my mom and dad were both tickled pink. I guess I looked pretty cute and I was a very healthy baby and was always in the pink. My mom and dad thought that my birthday was a real red letter day. I couldn't agree with them more. My birthday is the best red letter day in the year. (Christmas is not such a bad day either) I was a bit of a mischievous child and was always into the cupboard stealing cookies just before dinner. My mom frequently caught me red handed. When I was caught red handed, I sometimes ended up with a really red hand (when I got spanked). Getting caught red handed is what gave my dad the black mark. I didn't think my mom would put a black mark beside my name, because I was so cute when I was caught red handed, that she couldn't stay mad at me for long. After I grew up and left home I got a job driving a truck. My mom and dad had hoped that I would go to university and get a real job. My mom started calling me a redneck. Now that hurt even more than being caught in the cookie jar, because being called a redneck made me feel that I had a black mark on my name. My brother had become a lawyer and made tons of money. My sister was a nurse and saved people when they came to the Emergency Ward. I was the black sheep of the family and a redneck to boot! What made it even worse was that I was having trouble paying the bank for the loan on my truck. I was in the red with the bank and they were threatening to put a black mark on my credit record. This would make it hard for me to get a credit card.

One day I went home and asked my mom if I could borrow some money to help me with my loan which was in the red. She said that she was not very proud of her rednecked black sheep and said that even though I could bat my baby blues all I want, she wasn't going to rescue me from my financial problems. She said that she was always having to rescue her rednecked son and she was tired of me batting my baby blues and expecting her to finance his life style. I put a tear in my baby blues but she still wouldn't part with her money. I told her that I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, because if I didn't come up with my next loan payment, I would be so far in the red with the bank that they would put a black mark on my credit rating. My only choice was to sell the truck, but if I sold the truck I couldn't make any money to finish paying back the loan to the bank. I was in a black mood and feeling blue. I said to my mom that she hadn't helped me out in a blue moon. Then my mom got really mad at me and the air was blue. I kept batting my baby blues and telling mom that if I could just get the money for the next payment I would then be able to get a great contract to haul trash for the city and from then on it would be nothing but blue sky, because the garbage would just keep on piling up and I would have a job for life. She told me that I could plead with her until I was blue in the face, she was not going to give me my loan payment.

My mom really did have heart of gold and after giving me a bad time about being a redneck she finally said that she would give me the money. She was sorry that I was in the red with the bank and she wanted me to be in the black. I told her that I thought she had a heart of gold. I told her that even though I was only a redneck to her, I wasn't too yellow to go to the bank and beg them for money, but that I didn't think they would give it to me anyway. She said that she always remembered the golden rule and would help her redneck son get out of the red and into the black. As she put it, Maybe garbage is going to be your pot of gold!

Finally I got some of the green stuff. Garbage did turn into my pot of gold and you might say that I had a real green thumb where garbage was concerned. Very quickly I was able to turn my one truck into a whole fleet of trucks and after a while I even started hauling garbage for two other cities. Garbage had turned into my pot of gold. I had often thought that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence when I looked at how well my brother and sister had done in their jobs. When I didn't go to university because I was afraid I wasn't smart enough, my brother had called me yellow. That had hurt me badly and I knew that driving a truck made me the black sheep of the family. But I didn't envy them any more. My brother's firm had trouble and had let him go. My sister finally couldn't take the pressure of her job as a nurse and had quit. She now worked out of her house and made jewelry that she sold at craft markets. I gave my brother a job driving one of my trucks. He was grateful and I was no longer the black sheep of the family. My brother had run through a Florida Green with a whole load of manure and crashed the truck into a telephone pole. There was stuff everywhere! He tried convincing the police that he thought that the light change was sort of a gray area and that he thought that he would beat the red light. The police said that the traffic camera had caught him red handed and there was no gray area where running a red light was concerned. They arrested him and threw him in jail for dangerous driving. Now he was the one with the black mark and was the black sheep of the family. I was in in the black and would never be in the red again, since garbage had turned into my pot of gold.

The lesson to be learned from this story is that even though you think you're a rednecked black sheep and are in the red you can still be in in the black with lots of green stuff and that black marks don't need to ruin your life.

Idioms in the story:

blackout, gray area, black mark, black sheep, Black Friday, black eye, blacked out, black, in the black

tickled pink, in the pink, red letter day, red handed, redneck, in the red,

baby blues, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, feeling blue, blue moon, air was blue, blue sky, blue in the face,

heart of gold, bad time, yellow, golden rule, pot of gold,

green stuff, green thumb, the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, Florida Green,