Tom-Foolery

Hooligans and Shenanigans

Dear Rosa,

I can only imagine how different our childhoods must have been, Rosa. You were a kid in the 1870’s. I was in the 1970’s. Incredible the difference a hundred years can make.

No longer dependant on crops to survive, we lived the life of leisure – our only problems – who was around and did we have enough bodies to play a decent game of baseball or kickball or some such combination of both. The last day of school marked the beginning of the shenanigans.

I remember tearing out of bed – who needed sleep? and starting the phone tree going…

Tammy, you up? Gonna be nice today – get the Clough boys and meet at my house, we’ll set up an obstacle/race through town with our bikes…get your brothers up and make some calls, I’ll see if Marcia’s coming into town…

God help anyone who got in our way. What a rush, riding pell-mell through the small, quiet streets without a care in the world.

Saw Scotty up on Vine Street – I said breathless to Tammy, we can cut him off at School Street…

We’d build up a sweat and later head for home with new plans all set.

Meet me at the pool – opens at 1:00, I’ll be there all day.

And we would. On hot days, we’d stay until they blew the last whistle. Then we’d bike home, have dinner and beg a parent to bring the pack back up to the pool for an evening swim.

When we weren’t at the pool, we convened at one of the local fields. Traditional games soon got boring, so we improvised

Let’s play kickball/baseball with a frisbee and nerf ball, someone suggested. You have to kick the ball and throw the nerf at the same time.

Yeah, added another, and you’re out when you get hit with the nerf ball and someone steps on the base with the frisbee…

It never ended well.

Someone would invariably get hit too hard or change the rules and piss someone off then we would all storm home to cool down and have a snack. The break never last too long, though…

Hey Sue, Tammy called to say, my parents are heading up to the pool tonight, wanna come?

You betcha…

We turned into hooligans at night. Couldn’t play a decent game of Bloody Murder during daylight, now could you? I don’t know who invented the game – must be all the pack contributed until we had it honed to perfection. We met at the telephone/light pole near Tammy’s house – stupid thing was built in the middle of the road – paved right around it, I swear! Once we were all gathered someone was chosen to be “it” then sent out into the nearby darkness to wait.

One, two, three… we got more excited and nervous with each number. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen… twenty! Ready or not, here we come…

Don’t like this, Tammy muttered.

I just grinned.

Everyone scattered seeking the “it” person. Trees, fields and darkness provided plenty of hiding places for someone who didn’t want to be seen. When one of us finally located “it” they had to scream “Bloody Murder!” and run back to safety – back to the telephone pole.

You should’ve heard the screams.

Imagine what the neighbors must’ve thought, hearing a pack of kids yelling “Bloody Murder” at 10:00 at night. They were good sports, though and never shut us down. Who ever got tagged by “it” had to go out and hide with them, so you see, eventually, there would be one person at the pole counting and ten kids slunked down in the darkness just waiting…

Ah, Rosa, it was a good childhood, full of restless hooligans and endless shenanigans. My mom would summon my brothers and I home for dinner with a cowbell. We’d part, but not before plans were set for the next day…

Alright, we huddled, tomorrow we’re gonna have an art show. Go home and draw some stuff. Meet at the pole at 9:00….

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2 thoughts on “Hooligans and Shenanigans

  1. “It never ended well.”
    This made me smile. It conjured up so many memories. And that’s what good writing does. It says just enough to get the movie rolling in my mind.

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