Remember my ramblings about hair brained ideas. I think that when kids are bored they come up with interesting ways to entertain them selves. Especially if there is a group wondering what to do.
On one such occasion the Mullins boys and some other neighborhood boys were doing just that; trying to think up a new game to keep us occupied. We were bored with just plain tag. It was too easy. How about tree climbing? Too boring as well. (Now comes the hair brained idea.) How about tree tag? Excellent idea!
We sat down and made up a quick set of rules. We wanted to keep it simple so there were only two rules. No tag backs and no touching the ground. With that we were off. There was a perfect tree behind the house that had limbs that spread way out. At the base of the tree we did the usual “enie, meni, myni, mo” to see who is it. Well I was it first.
The rest of the boys climbed the tree while I counted to fifty. What a site that must have been to see all of us jumping around the tree, leaping from branch to branch like a bunch of monkeys. I started up the tree looking for easy prey. Donnie was the closest so it was off to the races so to speak.
We were all leaping and swinging from branch to branch. Climbing high and leaping low. We were having such a good time. Until. Donnie made a leap to a branch to avoid being tagged. His hands slipped from the branch and he fell flat on his back! All we heard was a loud “aughhhh” and then nothing else.
We scrambled out of the tree and gathered around his unmoving body. I stared down at his un breathing body and exclaimed “he’s dead”. I knew what I had to do, find an adult. I took off across the neighborhood to get Fran. Fran was the Mom of one of the kids we played with. She was about five feet tall and went about 175 pounds. I busted into her house and shouted “Donnie’s dead!” I told her where he was and we both took off running. She beat me there!
We looked down at Donnie and his eyes were closed and he was still unmoving. “He’s dead” I stated as a matter of fact. Donnie opened his eyes and said “Who’s dead?” Fran checked him out to make sure he was not hurt. He just had the wind knocked out of him. At least this time there were no serious damage to anyone….unlike that that other time…
We made up another game to help pass the time. We combined riding our bike with dodge ball. What a great game. One person was on one side of the street and a second on the other. Then we rode our bikes back and forth while the ball was thrown across. We could play this game for hours.
One summer day we were playing and I wasn’t paying attention. The ball went across the street, hit the curb and started to roll back. I looked at the thrower and was making faces because they had missed the person in front of me. About that time my front tire hit the ball and stopped it on a dime. Unfortunately the rest of the bike did not stop and the back end of the bike went up and over me. I went up and over the handlebars and the back tire found my face. I landed part on the grass and part on the curb. What a mess I was.
I was told that I got up and was cussing the bike loudly. This brought my Dad to the door to see what was going on. There I stood with two bloody knees, two bloody elbows and a bloody nose. My Dad took me into the house to clean me up. He rinsed a wash cloth to wipe my nose. When he did this his eyes got wide. I wasn’t crying up to this point. After I saw the look in my Dads eyes I knew that something was not quite right. The floodgates opened and there was no stopping it. When Dad wiped my nose he saw that the upper lip was missing.
Dad took me to the hospital where it just so happened to be an aspiring plastic surgeon on duty. When he saw my lip he rubbed his hands together and started his work. My upper lip looked like hamburger meat. Many hours and many sutures later my lip was pieced back together. That is when they noticed the swelling on my right forearm. Over to x-ray we go. Both bones broke clean.
By the time I got home I looked like I was back from war. I had bandages on both knees and elbows, a cast on my right arm and gauze taped across my face. I had to chew with my mouth open and my siblings complained to Dad and I had to eat in the kitchen for the next few weeks. Talk about insult to injury!
I often look back on those days and wonder how did I ever make it to adulthood? What imagination we had. Now a days it video games, computer and television that keeps the kids entertained. I’m not so sure I would call that progress.