By Charles Towne

My dear old mama’s exact words and I can hear them yet, were, “Charles, what in the world are you doing?”

No sooner did I hear those words then mama grabbed me by an ear and I was led/dragged to the house where I received an almost lethal bath.

Baths of the type I am speaking of should be listed as parental abuse or at least cruel and unusual punishment.

The sort of bath I am speaking of is the type where muriatic acid and wire brushes are called into play!  (That might be a slight exaggeration but not by much.)

You might very well wonder just what could have precipitated such a drastic reaction from my usually gentle, dear, sweet, loving mama, so if you insist I will tell you.

And so that you will understand my sordid tale the better, and For those of you that don’t know me very well, I must admit to possessing a strange and somewhat perverted, or according to some human persons, an overactive curiosity for as long as I can remember.

Mama had discovered me out behind the barn on our little farmstead where I was studiously satisfying my little boy curiosity by picking maggots off a slightly dead, sun-ripened, putrid, exceedingly odoriferous fowl of the chicken kind that had died from some mysterious malady the previous week.  The examining of said deceased barnyard fowl wasn’t what riled my mother’s wrath but my popping said maggots between my little boy fingers was.

In my defense, you should know that at the time of this little episode in my innocent little boy-hood, I was about four years old, and you should also know that I have never met a critter of any sort, large, small, dead or alive that I couldn’t learn from.

What I learned that day (All in the name of science mind you) was that if a maggot is held between the thumb and forefinger, and just the right amount of pressure is applied, said maggot will explode with a tiny, a very little, minuscule, “POP!”  (Try it some time but not when your mama, your wife, future wife or boss is around.)  I suppose, all things being equal, that the tiny, very little, minuscule, “POP!” is a lot louder to the maggot, but then perhaps not, because I don’t know if maggots have ears?

It is really quite remarkable that our wonderful Papa God, having caught us playing with some pretty nasty things in our lives, (and you know what I am talking about so don’t try to deny it!)

Yes, not only did He catch us but then He promised to wash us clean, “Whiter than snow,’ and on top of that He loves us with an undying and endless love!  Come to think about it, I don’t really suppose we can blame Him for asking, “And just what in the world are you doing now?”

Live fully,
Love openly,
Trust God, and make a difference, today.

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Well there you go again, Chuck, with that colorful and very visual storytelling. God bless your Mama! What a saint she must have been! Yes, I am so thankful that the Lord washes us clean when we get into things that we should leave alone, even run the other direction. He is so faithful
    to love us, care for us, clean us off by forgiving us and then setting us back on track. Thank you, Lord, for so many, many blessings you do for us. May God bless you and keep you, Chuck!

  2. Yes…an insatiable curiosity has led most of us down the wrong path numerous times. so thankful for the opportunity to cleanse and be forgiven. I am sure it is not the last path that I will wander down a wrong turn. Delightful writing and metaphors! Thanks again Charles for your insight and sense of humor.

  3. Dear CSG, One thing I have learned in my long and eventful existence is a curious fact of nature and it is this; if your parents never had any children it is most likely that you won’t either. Bless you dear one, Chaz

  4. Yes NH, but if we have half the common sense that the good Lord gave a goofy gopher we do eventually learn don’t we? It is sort of like playing with yellow jackets nests, eventually the pain supersedes our curiosity, or perhaps it could be said that even an idjit learns after awhile! Thanks for the feedback dear friend, Chaz

    P.S. I am learning! I am learning! I am learning, maybe?

  5. This was another great one that I really relate to. As a slightly older child, I was caught, late at night, under the covers with a flashlight reading a book and got whupped for my transgression. Perhaps that is why I look forward, every Sunday, to your latest inspiration.

  6. Chuck, thank goodness it was your fingers! Before I got to the very last, I was hoping it wasn’t TEETH! You never know what a four year old might try!

  7. Well, that was your first lesson in forgiveness that hit the starter button on my gag reflex. I don’t think it was necessarily your description of the popping act but more the vivid details of the “pre-popping” home of the maggot. I have to agree whole heartily with CSG on the saintly traits of your dear mother. Lord knows my soon to be 93 year old mother has had to deal with me and she more than once told me that I would “try the patience of a saint”. I am so grateful that God and mothers are forgiving…

  8. Herb, yeah, a lot of us can relate to the, “old reading by the light of a flashlight trick.” Today so many kids don’t read at all. So sad. I am pleased that you enjoy my writing. Chaz

  9. Don, are you implying that I, me, yours truly, just might have experimented with the flavor of the cute little wigglies? Really they don’t taste all that bad. Oh well, kids will be kids. Blessings on you pal, Chaz

  10. knowing you as only i do i didn’t have to look for your article it just popped out at me. maybe i know you on a level that may or may not be healthy. But I love you Dad

  11. Well, what can I say #2 son, everything in life sort of POPS! out at us. I have tried to do a BANG-UP! job of raising you, even though there have been a few EXPLOSIVE! little episodes I think that you will agree that life has gone off BOOMINGLY! well. I hope the rest of our lives will be a real BLAST! May Papa God bless you with great joy and much happiness and great love, your papa

  12. Wow! What a picture of how we experiment with sin. At first we are just curious, so we explore without fear and as we get more into it it gets messy and eventually it pops and gets really messy and hard and impossible to clean ourselves. But God’s Word says, if we confess our sins He, God, is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteiusness! What a blessing that He can cleanse us even better than Mama! No disrespect meant, unka Chuck! God has so blessed you with helping us see ourselves and to point us to our Papa God for our cleansing from ANY sin ! May God give you many more years to continue your blessed imagination in good health!
    Love you and Nancy, Linda

    PS so good to see no. 2 son respond to your article!

  13. Linda, so good to see you are alive and well and to get your comment. Eventually we do learn don’t we? Isn’t He sweet? WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD WE SERVE, Unka Chuck

  14. Yes, He is! We have had cold sunshine and snow and a lot of it so I have stayed in while Jack has been running all the errands and I have been mostly eating, trying to gain weight, and sleeping. He has refused to work during this weather so thankfully he is home most ood the time! But, I think I am on the mend and will be functioning more, Praise God!

  15. I also have a maggot memory – Ted and I found a writhing mass of maggots (also on a dead chicken) and scraped them into a pint jar. After studying them closely (I agree – no ears, but they do appear to have a tiny black snout), I poured kerosene in the jar, and Ted threw in a match. I recall a faint scent of cooked flesh. Ted was about 8, so I was about 6. Ours was also a scientific experiment . . . at least that’s my excuse. Makes ya wonder about our family . . .

  16. Judith Towne Hankes, Yes, ours was a most peculiar(read strange) family. People are going to wonder about all the deceased chickens. I do have to say that Papa God was definitely taking care of us back then too. Blessings on you, Chaz

  17. Jorge, I have an idea that you can relate. I am sure that most of the worthwhile inventions of mankind started out as misadventures of little boys. Chaz

  18. Ahhh, the memories! Things were somewhat the same for country and city! My brothers and I had the “scrub down” more than once as I recall, some of us are slow learners! It involved a galvinized tin tub, a stiff bristled brush commonly used to scrub floors, and Fels-Naptha soap. Remember that? Bars of soap harder than brick! I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father washes us with his love and not with something He learned from the mothers of young boys!
    On a completely different subject, in military survival training they teach you that grubs and such are a good source of protein, I guess it depends on how hungry you are!! Blessings to you my friend now and always!

  19. Oh yes Richard, the memories, the delightful memories! Those yellow bricks of Fels Naptha lye soap were not only used for scrubbing filth such as worm goop off little boys but I also remember the distinct flavor when it was applied liberally as a cure for foul mouth when dear old mama heard you use inappropriate language. I actually developed a taste for the vile stuff! Thanks for the memory stirrer upper. Blessings my friend, Chaz

  20. No.2 Son Funny how things can bite us even when we think they are dead. Remember feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, eyes down range.


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