Gut Rumbles

January 22, 2009

Things I remember

Originally published November 25, 2003

Growing up Down South, I had a lot of pleasures that yankees miss out on.

* You and a couple of friends each buy a quarter of a watermelon for 25 cents and eat it on the bridge over Hayner's Creek (pronounced "Haynie's Creek") on Montgomery Crossroads. Spit the seeds in the water and see who can spit a seed the farthest.

* Go down behind Halcyon Bluff and pick up a lot of glass jars from the old landfill back there. Put them in the front basket on your bicycle, then ride down to the bank of Hayner's Creek. Throw them in the creek and then shoot them with BB guns before they sink on their own.

* Skinny-dip with your dog in the Forest City Gun Club Lake on a hot summer day.

* See a tick growing fat behind a friend's ear and pull it off of him. Make sure the head is still on the tick before you explode the blood-sucking varmit.

* Pick wild blackberries in the woods and blow on them to make them clean. Eat so many that you shit like a goose for three days afterward.

* Go outside every day wearing nothing but drawers and a pair of short pants. Go barefoot and bare-backed for three months. Become brown as a ginger cake and learn to run fast across hot pavement.

* Climb a tree just because no one has climbed that one before.

* Chew a nice piece of sourgrass. Don't listen when somebody tells you that sourgrass only grows where a dog took a leak.

* Piss on a fire-ant mound just to watch the ants run around like crazy.

* Gig bullfrogs in the local "canal" (which was nothing but a drainage ditch) and scare up a big, fat cottonmouth snake while you're wading barefoot in the water. Jump up on the bank and gig the hell out of that snake. Then parade the corpse through the neighborhood on the end of your gig. Grown men are impressed with that kind of kill.

* Sleep overnight in a tree house.

* Watch somebody light a fart in a tent at night on a camping trip in the woods.

I could talk about this kind of stuff forever, because I lived every bit of it. I grew up in a Huck Finn childhood. The woods were my playground and my friends were just as wild as I was. We were bullet-proof and adventurous. We were savages. I believe that EVERY KID should grow up the way I did.

Too many kids are civilized today.

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