Hot Cross Buns

When I was in the second grade, my music teacher introduced our class to a plastic wind instrument called the recorder. We each received our own in a bag to take home and practice and keep forever.

My friend Robyn, a tall, quiet blonde with good grades, lived up the street and around the corner. One day she invited me to her house for after-school practice. This is where the details become a bit fuzzy. After playing “Hot Cross Buns” an indefinite number of times, I clearly remember wielding my recorder like a weapon, completely unprovoked, and cracking my friend on the top of her blonde head. Hard. From the bedroom doorway, I heard a gasp and turned to see Robyn’s older sister, eyes wide and jaw dropped.  

End scene.

I can only imagine Robyn’s sister saying, “Crystal, I think it’s time for you to go home.” I don’t think Robyn cried. I don’t think anyone reported me to Robyn’s mother. I don’t remember saying, “I’m sorry.” I do remember Robyn eventually moving to Texas and losing track of her over time.

In 2009, I found Robyn on Facebook and apologized for the time, forty years earlier, I hit her over the head with my recorder. I’m not sure she remembered, my apology now another distant recollection. Why had this brief memory haunted me through the years? I’m quite sure I was even meaner to my brother when we were kids, but that was mostly retaliation.

Humans are imperfect. We randomly act without thinking and hurt others without malicious intent. We often beat ourselves up for mishandled situations while judging others for their shortcomings. At other times, we don’t own up to our own roles in our own dramas. Life is complicated. Apologies, forgiveness, and understanding are not exactly simple. Sometimes, however, we owe ourselves peace. ‘Tis the season.

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on

34 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns

  1. It’s sounds like you were impulsive as a kid, like I was. I still am, in fact—impulsive, not a kid.😉

    Learning how to apologize, in all its complicated forms, is required learning for us more pliable folks. Otherwise, no one will want to play recorder with us. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Crystal, I just love you! I remember recorders too. I loved mine. We are definitely flawed humans. We had a neighbor who was about 8-9 years ahead of me, Robbie was his name. Literally running through hanging sheets I turned and hit him in the nose with my Scooby Doo metal lunch box. He bullied all of us and I just couldn’t take bullies! I felt terrible. I had to apologize, of course, to him and his Mom. I have many other faults and experiences,…but peace and grace cover us and I just try to be better than yesterday. Sending you much love and peace this season. I appreciate you so much!💕❤️🎄🥰🙏🏻


    1. Oops! Well, you taught Robbie a couple of lessons that day! My English IV kids read a nonfiction Halloween story by David Sedaris called “Us and Them.” In the story Sedaris is being a third-grade brat. As a follow up, I had my students write about a time they were being a brat. It only seemed fair I should try that myself. Thanks for sharing yours, Karla! Sending lots of love, good energy, and peace right back to you! 💖✨🫶🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That hurtful instrument illustrates with a cudgel’s force the savagery within us all. Illustrates?
    “Shut up,” she explained, or something like that.

    Anyway and fortunately, this aggressive fire usually is squelched before it burns others. The dousing water? Oh, ethics, spirituality, reflection (often starting with a deep breath), apprehension (of the consequences). Take your pick. Often a combination of them, as well as a few friends not listed here.

    That’s the philosophical part of the discussion. As for the nitty-gritty, you were given recorders, too, Crystal? Seriously, there must’ve been tens of millions of them loose in this country forty years ago.

    Looking back, they seemed trinket-y, a plastic whirligig meant to distract nine-year-olds. Keeping us occupied for a while, lest we make trouble elsewhere. Imagine my surprise to learn the recorder is a serious musical instrument. So much so that, 300 years ago, Vivaldi (among others) composed concerti for them.

    Wonder if he ever hit another composer over the head with one.


  4. I’m smiling about your recorder *incident* and how you’ve atoned for it. We grow older– then wonder why we did what we did as kids, as young adults, even as mature adults. It’s tricky being a good person.


  5. Now that’s an interesting confession, Crystal! It is very like who I think you are that you remembered a quick incident from so long ago and reached out to apologize. You definitely owe yourself peace. 😊🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is the most difficult thing to remember, my perceptions of what is are mine alone. How I believe others are experiencing can only be a story, accurate or not, still a story. I admire what you did, to mend and patch that rough spot in memories ride. Life is good! Be well, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A wonderful message, Crystal. This is one of the many messages in my new book, which is going to be announced tomorrow on my blog.

    Another message is how sometimes our environments shape us, and we don’t always realize our behavior is an acting-out because of that “shaping” until some time later.

    Truth About You

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The visual makes me LOL, just because it’s absurd. I guess what always bothered me about this is why? And there’s just no good answer. Sometimes I still find myself doing certain things for no good reason. And I can beat myself up or let it go…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kids do the darndest things. When I was 4, I was banned from watching my favorite show Batman. Apparently reenacting a fight scene, I broke my Mom’s glass ornamental bowl or plate over my younger brother’s head. I’m not sure if I was expecting a dialogue box with the word, “Crash!” to appear over his head. He was miraculously unhurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing!!.. life is an ongoing lesson to learn from… I had a teacher tell me that the day I need not gather anymore knowledge was the day of my funeral… “ I am currently attending the School of Life, learning more about the universe and me… and Graduation Day will be the day of my funeral and it is then I will know if I failed or I succeeded and graduated”… (Larry “Dutch” Woller)… 🙂

    Hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday filled with peace and happiness and until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)


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