Gut Rumbles

July 14, 2005

i am not a crook

I re-thought this post last night before I went to sleep. I DESPISE thieves, the low-life bastards. But I did occasionally steal a watermelon when I was young.

I also picked a raw ear of corn out of a farmer's field and ate it right there, amid the acres of stalks sometimes. I raided a neighbor's pear tree when I knew she wasn't home. I trespassed on private property to pick berries. I knew every Japanese plum tree within five miles of where I lived and I used to go pick them, too.

I never considered that to be "stealing." I looked at it more as "foraging," or "living off the fat of the land." I NEVER walked into a store and stole a peach or a good-looking apple. THAT would be wrong. But hopping a fence and grabbing something growing in a field always seemed different to me.

Oh, farmers might shoot at you (usually with a LOUD shotgun loaded with rock-salt) and some people might sic a mean dog on you if you were discovered, but that element of risk is what made doing such things an ADVENTURE, rather than a crime.

Technically, I WAS a crook back in those days. But I didn't see it that way then, and I really don't see it that way now. Them were fun times. Any Southern boy who never did anything like that probably grew up to be a girly-man, in MY humble opinion.

Besides... I can confess now because the statute of limitations expired a long time ago.


I stole a roll of lifesavers candy at about the age of 4 (after my father refused to buy them for me)

When we got home from the store, he discovered my ill-gotten gains and went back to the store and returned them. I was so pissed.....

But I never forgot how badly I felt, knowing that my father caught me stealing something...

Posted by: Ruth on July 14, 2005 10:09 AM

You were trespassing, no doubt about that, but back in those days it was considered honorable to trespass just a little bit. Today it is a crime.

Posted by: PawPaw on July 14, 2005 10:39 AM

I couldn't stand it. I had to blog it. You can see it over at my place.

Posted by: Pawpaw on July 14, 2005 11:02 AM

I don't think anyone thinks anything about swiping a watermelon here and there, but when I was a wee lil' feller, there was a local family who would go around and steal corn and suchlike from people's gardens. They always hit my grandads corn and watermelons pretty hard because they knew he didn't live on the farm.

He always said that if they needed it bad enough to go to the field to steal it that they were welcome to it. Personally, I am not of such a forgiving nature.

Posted by: DaveH on July 14, 2005 11:08 AM

It was wheat fields near our house.

Posted by: Kelly on July 14, 2005 11:43 AM

I can remember it well doing this when I was younger. I stopped when I went to college after one of the students got shot and killed stealing a pumpkin at Halloween. Just didn't seem worth the risk anymore.

Posted by: dick on July 14, 2005 12:43 PM

I was up at my Mom's the week before last, and the subject of my childhood came up. Specifically, the number of t-shirts that I "ruined" by flipping up the front into a basket and filling it with blackberries from Mr. Knoderer's farm. As soon as she said that, I could taste those berries popping as I bit down on them. Doesn't get any better (without your first real girlfriend handy, anyway).

Posted by: Jack in TX on July 14, 2005 03:30 PM

The trick to foraging is to make friends with the farmers' dogs.

Posted by: Yogimus on July 14, 2005 08:40 PM
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