Monday, March 10, 2008

Boy Seasons


Another old man memory:

When I was a lad, we broke our year up into play-seasons: Baseball and football season, of course; and then there were times of the year when we turned to yo-yo's, marbles, or tops. We played knife peg from spring to fall, and also stick peg, which was done with sharpened broom-handles sections about two feet long. There was kite-season, too, in the spring. And war: we used slingshots, slings, boomerangs, spears made of cane that we threw at each other, peashooters, and dirt clods. Later, BB guns and roman candles ...

Ah, we were violent children, back in my day. We climbed trees, waded in ditches, caught snakes, rode our bikes in the summer behind the DDT truck spewing white fog to kill the mosquitoes, a miasma so thick you couldn't see each other.

Also great fun to ride our bike during the hurricanes, too. Great going down the street, you didn't have to pedal at all. Coming back, you had to get off and walk, and push the bike, it was too windy to ride.

Wonder any of us survived ...

Bookworm that I was, I spent a lot of time outside doing what little boys did. My grandchildren don't do any of these things, they play computers. Safer for them, but ...

2 comments:

Mike said...

You probably played with lead soldiers, too. And I'm guessing you always carried a pocket knife. Most of the stuff I did as a kid while going to the Marshfield, Indiana grade school (six grades, three rooms) would get you tossed in Gitmo today as some sort of mini terrorist/ninja. We'd never heard of ninjas back then, but most of the boys were handy with a tin can lid shuriken, and this kept the local doc's suturing skills up to speed. Sure wish we'd had those cane spears, though: cane beats a corn stalk any day when it comes to making a spear.

Steve Perry said...

Yep.

The first list is the yo-yo trick set. This was my thing. First time I ever picked one up -- the guy running the yo-yo contest saw me watching and lent it to me, I didn't even own one -- I won. I was a natural. By the time I was ten or eleven, i could do every trick there was, and my last year, I went to the state finals, only to lose the trip to Disneyland in the loop-out at the end ...

Although I liked the wooden butterfly myself, these days, you can get them with almost frictionless axles and metal bodies that will spin three or four times as long, and there are tricks these kids today can do I couldn't begin to approach at my best.

I got one called a Metallic Missile, from Yomega, couple years back, it comes up so hard and fast it has to have rubber bumpers on the rim so it doesn't break your hand ...

Of course, I could do all the tricks I could do with a wooden axle model, and that's tough on Atom Bomb.

The second list is the version of knife peg that we did. You started with the knife lengthways on your palm, point toward your fingertips, tossed it up so that it did a half flip toward you, and stuck up.

Game was, you did it until you missed one, then the others got a shot.

Slap Pappy Over the Fence involved sticking the knife lightly into the ground at a forty-five degree angle, putting your left hand against the side of the blade at the ground, and then slapping it with your free hand on the handle so it would flip multiple times over your bracing hand and then stick up.

Your knife couldn't have a needle point, because flipping it off your elbows and knees would be bloody. (You could cheat the ones off your nose and head by putting your thumb under the point, that was allowed.