For those playing the home game, a really cool place is the drunk tank at HPD's Beechnutt sub-station, or the fire station where a fireman actually slid down the firepole head first and went back up feet first. We capped that year off with a jamboree at the YMCA camp in Livingston, Tx. I would later spend many of my summers there as part of the summer camp program.
It was at this time that I formed the best and most lasting memory I have with my dad. He taught me to shoot for the very first time. The weekend was filled with group activities and general fun and mayhem for both father and son. Pure-D bonding time. Of course, being spring in Texas, it rained on most of the activities away. With nothing better to do, Dad and I went for a hike with a close friend and his dad. As an aside, it was my friend's dad who got us all in this Indian Guides thing as a way to get the kids together. Dad and Other Dad were law school and legal buddies from years past. They worked together and even carpooled for a time. Other Dad also happened to be a major survival preparedeness nut. Did I ever tell you about the guns he buried in the backyard?
Anyway, we decide to hike as the weather let up on us. Out from the trunk of OD's car come a couple of Daisy Red Ryder BB guns and a BB pistol. If I know OD, there were probably a couple of .22's in there as well. Maybe something else that started in .4 and ended in either 4 or 5.
So there we were on some back county road in East Texas. It was about a mile or so to the lake from our cabins with plenty of side trails to explore and neat things to see. Remember now, this was back in the day when a dad could still walk down a country road with his son and a gun between them. Friend and I were immediately whisked away to the days of Davy Crockett defending the walls of the Alamo from Santa Anna's men. We charged headlong up San Juan Hill with the Roughriders. I even saved my dad from the rain of arrows launched by Apache Warriors. I'm sure the speed limit signs still bear testament to my accuracy as a 9 year old.
We made it to the lake and spent a couple of hours popping snapping turtles on the back and trying oh so valiantly to hit little water bugs as they danced around at our feet by the dock. We got back and shared the wealth with the rest of our tribe. Tin cans and paper plates were no match for our 'tribe.' Friend and I spent the rest of that afternoon watching our tribe attack the targets while learning the time honored tradition of whittling. I never was adept at making chains or little figures, but I could make a mean little toothpick! It was here that I got to use dad's Buck folder and attacked anything with bark on it. It snowed wood shavings when mom turned my jean cuffs inside out.
What a weekend. Such a fantastic memory. This is one of those memories that I may or may not be able to share with my yet unborn child. Depending on the politics of the day, I may not even be able to teach my son how to 'hock a loogy' without an environmental impact statement and committee hearings.
Not to worry. I've taken matters into my own hands. I recently purchased a Diana air rifle, wrist rocket (w/ extra tubes), and have an order on hand for ball bearings...lots of ball bearings. My kids are going to have some fun on the level that I did and they are going to enjoy (as much as I can get away with safely) some of the same liberties that I had as a kid.
Screw this nanny-state 1984 B.S.! When someone says they want to offer their children the same opportunities they had as a kid, by-durn-gosh mean it! Go out and shoot tin cans in your backyard with them. Let them rough house way up high in trees without helmets on. If my kid falls out of the tree and breaks an arm, we're gonna do like my mom did back in the day. We're gonna get the biggest and thickest magazine in the house and a roll of duct tape. Wrap that mag around the arm and a half roll of duct tape later, you're off to the ER for x-rays and a lollipop.
Let's get our kids together and have some good, old fashioned fun. I propose a blog meet several years down the line (when I finally have kids!). Throw some beer (sodas for the kids) in a tub, grab the BBs and .22's and let's get together out in the country. We'll spend the weekend teaching these kids the real facts of life. I propose the itinerary as such:
- We teach the fundamentals of whittling
- We teach the basics of rough house play (including but not limited to dirt clod wars, roman candle fights, BB gun battles, and general 'mud-in-your-eye' fun play
- Teach the four rules of firearms safety
- DEATH TO ALL TIN CANS!!!
- any other fun activity we did as young'uns that probably ran the high risk of broken bones, black eyes, skinned knees and new patches on our jeans. If mom was sure to disapprove, then the activity is allowed.
Here's what is not allowed
- First Aid Kit. A first aid class will be taught. Proper use of dirt as a cauterizing agent will be highlighted. The only other first aid items available will be a roll of duct tape, those rough paper towels from the Flying J truck stop, electrician's tape for smaller wounds, and a back issue of your wife's Madamoiselle (probably the thickest magazine ever published. will stabilize a fractured femur if need be).
- Game boys, Yu-Gi-Oh, iPod, or any portable electronic device. The only electronic device allowed is one Grundig shortwave radio. Our kids will also learn about AM broadcast stations and scanning the bands listening to the funny sounds of Deutsche Welle and BBC. Portable devices will be confiscated and thrown on the fire to show kids how cool it looks when batteries explode.
- No padding of any sort. If I see anyone bring a helmet for their child without a valid doctor's note I will beat them about the head with it until they are rendered unconscious. I will use the opportunity to teach your boy or girl how to rub some dirt on the exposed wound to close it.
- No toys allowed that have a safety manual. These kids are to become free-thinkers and make up the rules regarding proper and improper use of their toys. If the kids want to see what happens to an over-inflated football when hit with .22 volley fire, so be it.
I propose this become an annual event. Let's take back what our children have lost. I want my children to have the same memories without some dipwad ninny telling them they can't do whatever they want because it might hurt the environment, someone's feelings, themselves..whatever. I'm tired of hearing about our kids being brainwashed by the school systems. My kid should not have to live in fear because he/she used a plastic knife at lunch to cut up an apple. He/she should also not have to get an education that hinges upon proper scores in some standardized test. If my child's fragile mind is exposed to Brokeback Mountain, I will break a teacher across my knee. My kids will grow up reading the classics of American Literature. Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, Huck Finn, Lord of the Flies, Watership Down, the Outsiders....they're all welcome in my home. I will encourage my kids to read, and read they will. If some libtard freak plans to water down the reading list, I will counter with a reading list of my own. Shit, I was reading Stephen Coonts and Tom Clancy in the fifth grade! I want my kids at that level, too.
I want my daughter's future husband to hear embarassing tales of her running nekkie through the lawn sprinklers halfway down the block. I should be able to show him pictures of her three year old heinie in the tub without being judged a pervert. Thank Gawd for digital cameras and Photoshop. My son should be able to show the scars of a joyous boyhood to his son. "See that, Junior?" he'd say. "I got that scar when little Jimmy Nugent and I were playing Pirates of the Carribean. He hit me with a homemade wooden sword. C'mon into the garage, and I'll show you how to make your own."
I don't know who said it, but they said it best when kids these days are so coddled that they are trussed up in bubble wrap and elbow pads before they even get out of the house. Their minds are doused with the chlorine of conformity and mediocrity, too. We must not let others prevail where we are responsible. Our kids must have memories worth keeping, not programming.
*Feel free to invite any and all bloggers, friends and family to this event. All are welcome to relive their childhood memories as they see fit. It is mandatory that you pass on childhood games and traditions to your child and at least one other so that the flame of independence and childhood joy does not wane.