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Forced to Eat Ants

The sticky burning marshmallows were dripping fire as they melted on Brother Mike’s stick, they had been above the coals too long.  He started chasing me around the fire with his flaming marshmallows and I ran until the fire burned through his stick and the end fell off.  

This story is really an apology for the cruel things we did as kids.  We did stupid pranks without the wisdom of a grownup.  These stories are mostly true.

We had just about finished a bowl of popcorn when Mike crawled up the steep stairs to the bedroom, his diaper hanging around his knees.  “Quick Molly, hand me the popcorn.”  I slipped a spider into the bowl and handed it to Mike.  “Want some popcorn?” I said and Mike did, as Molly and I held our sides from laughing so hard.  Another time, we had Mike tied up in the room behind the garage.  I made him eat ants while Molly held him down.

Black Jack gum tastes like licorice.  I was shoveling manure behind the barn when I looked up and saw black tar dripping off the roof.  I made a short stick of the tar and handed it to Molly, telling her it was Black Jack gum.  She ran to Mom with a bunch of tar sticking to her teeth.  She couldn’t even open her mouth to tell Mom what had happened and I was in hot water again.

“Whap” went the cardboard armor on my chest and I was a casualty in our BB gun war.  I had another piece of cardboard on my back.  We always tried to fire from hidden places so as not to be a casualty.  I loved BB gun wars and the one rule we had was “not to shoot above the neck.”  I was hiding in the garage when I saw Molly running up the driveway and shot her in the leg, leaving a scar that she carries yet today.

My siblings and I weren’t the only rapscallions as told by my best friend of thirty-five years,John Sweetman who grew up on Bainbridge Island.  John and his sister, Liatris were rowing around Murden Cove. “It’s my turn to row,” Liatris said and John ignored her.  After begging two or three more times, Liatris grabbed the oars and threw them in the bay.  The tide was running and John had to paddle with his hands faster than the tide to catch up with the oars.

He tells of feeding his younger sister, Barbara, Cascara berries, knowing full well that they would make her sick.  Harvesting Cascara or Chittem bark was a way of making money for school clothes and other less important things.  The bark was stripped from the tree and sold to the pharmacy where it was made into a laxative.  

When you see a skunk looking over his shoulder and aiming his rear end, you had better scat as he can spray for ten feet.  Barbara Sweetman found a skunk in her chicken coop and grabbing him by the tail, she let out a wild “Whoop” and swung him over her head and over the top of the fence.  They say that if you can pick a skunk up by the tail, he is unable to use his squirter.
When school ended, we took off our shoes and ran barefoot all summer.