Michael Housewright of “The Blissful Adventurer” fame honored me with another guest post on his blog, yesterday and I posted this little trip back to my home town (and my younger days). Enjoy!
You Kids Git Outta My Yard!
When I was a kid growing up in the little desert farm town of Buckeye, Arizona, I got yelled at, cussed at, fussed at, and even got shot at once. Everybody said the watermelon farmer was just shootin’ salt pellets, and they wouldn’t kill you, but they’d make you think twice about stealin’ his melons. But those were the teenage years.
When we were eleven or so, me and my pal, Barry, would sleep out in the backyard. I use the word sleep loosely, because what we did, was sneak around the neighborhood all night. Sneak? Ha! Like a couple of cats wearin’ hip-waders! You could probably hear us comin’ a block away. I’m pretty sure we didn’t fool our parents with the sleep-out gag either; in fact, I think they sent a memo to all the neighbors. Some of them seemed to know we were in their yard before we even decided we were going there.
We never hurt anything; that was one of the main rules back then; don’t mess with other people’s stuff. So, we made sure we never fooled with anybody’s house or car, but we didn’t see any harm in pilfering a peach now and then.
Hardly anybody had fences back then; if they did, it was usually one of those short chain-link jobbers any eleven year-old can jump over. It’s noisy as the dickens if you misjudge and catch your Keds on the doggone thing though. The fence doesn’t make much noise—just one quick rattling clang—but your pal laughin’ like a loon will wake every dog on the block. It works out though, ‘cause the barking covers your giggling as you high-tail-it out of there.
When we got older, we’d ride our bikes all the way downtown. Buckeye was one of those towns you always hear about that roll up the sidewalks at ten o’clock. After the bars closed, you could sit at the corner of Monroe and 4th Street for two hours, and not see another soul—except, maybe, the one policeman on duty.
We rode to the city pool one hot summer night; racing down dark streets, grinning ear-to-ear with excitement, and sweat soaking our shirts as we pedaled madly. Once there, we tossed our bikes in the bushes, scaled the fence—a six-footer—and took us a little dip. We only did it once; didn’t much care for the fence-climbing part of the deal.
Yep, those were the good ol’ days; prowlin’ around the neighborhood, and slipping downtown when it got late. The excitement was a rush, and let me tell you a fact; nothing can get a kid’s eyes bugged out, get him runnin’ and giggling, and keep him awake ‘til dawn, like a gruff voice growlin’ from a dark porch, “You kids git outta my yard!”
In closing, I’d like to say how much I appreciate Michael allowing me to guest post on his blog, and thank him for his constant encouragement. A while back, he suggested I should publish a book of these types of stories. His suggestion actually inspired this story, and encouraged me to start putting together such a book. I think this would be a great lead-off story, and I also think I’ll call the book, “You Kids Git Outta My Yard!”
And, one more thing: