Boys and mischief, they seem to go together. I wasn’t a bad kid – at least not according to my own standard. But I did like to partake in a few good humored past times. We didn’t have game consoles, DVD entertainment centers, or Cable TV. In fact, we only had 3 channels – 2, 5, and 11. When UHF came out, we could flip a switch on the TV and get channel 17 and 46. Years later, channel 36 came on the air, along with PBS – channel 8.
Every channel broadcasted from a different direction, so the rabbit ear antenna had to be shifted to pick up the signal. Unfortunately, when you touched the antenna, you became part of the antenna. When you had the perfect picture and let go of the rabbit ears, the screen would turn to snow again. My kids will never know the joy of missing the first 10 minutes of a show trying to tune in the signal. Or trying to guess the color of a car on The Price is Right by the shade of gray.
With limited channels, there was limited programming. Especially in the evenings when the only thing on was the evening news or game shows. So we made our own fun. It was adventurous, entertaining, and planned out only to the good laugh we expected. We never saw beyond that. Though many of our entertainments led to spankings, we never seemed to think that far in advance, thus making it impossible to plan an activity that didn’t end in a sore bottom.
My grandmother’s house sat on a lot perfect for adventure. Her car was parked at the top of the lot on a gravel park area. From the car, there was a short, but steep hill down to the house. The lot flattened out where the house sat, but then dropped into another steep hill in the back. It leveled off and gently sloped to the busy road at the end of the lot. It was the main road that headed into Porterdale.
What made the yard perfect for adventure was that the hill in the back was a good 30 yards from the road. It provided great cover and a great view of the road. It was just the right spot to launch attacks on passing motorists. Unfortunately, motorists usually don’t see this type of adventure as innocent fun.
I’m not sure who masterminded this plan, but three of us decided to air bomb cars with green plumbs. I was there with my friend Torrey and another red-headed kid. I didn’t know the other boy well since I only visited my grandmother a few times a year.
It was a long throw for young boys, and we weren’t having success hitting cars with the plumbs from that distance. The red-headed boy decided to move down the hill and take cover behind a bush near the road. He took an armload of plumbs and lobbed them toward the road. I don’t think he could even see from behind the bush, so he was lobbing at random.
I looked to my right and saw a pomegranate tree. It was full of ripe fruit. They were about the size of a baseball. My underdeveloped mind began churning. Baseballs are great for throwing, so one of these would be too. I picked one and returned to my battle position. I saw a car approaching, so I reared back and launched the pomegranate high and far. It made a perfect arch for the road and came straight down. The car moved right under it and I heard something that sounded like an exploding… well, like an exploding pomegranate. Red seeds and juice burst across the windshield of the car. It was a direct hit in the middle of the window. I’m amazed it didn’t crack.
The kid at the bush heard the boom and took off running toward the hill. His red hair beaconed for attention. And gave the driver a clear indication as to where the attack came from. Oddly enough, the car reappeared in front of Torrey’s house – right beside my grandmother’s house. The driver was a lady and she quickly identified red-head as the perpetrator. Torrey and I quickly agreed with her. Redhead also thought he was the perpetrator until she pointed to the car.
“I honestly thought I had been shot,” the woman said while pointing to the car. “Look at that mess.”
Redhead saw the pomegranate juice and knew he had been framed. “I only threw green plumbs,” he protested.
Ah. He admitted being at the scene. Admitted throwing things at the car. And now he has the audacity to deny responsibility. Since most of our throws fell short of the road, we feigned innocence. Unfortunately, Torrey’s mother wasn’t swayed. She said something to the effect of, “You all were throwing things…” Such technicalities. Was that worth punishing those who could possibly be innocent?
Apparently so. She handed down a sentence and we all were found guilty. Another fine adventure spoiled by adult intervention.
Eddie Snipes 2012
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