Sunday, December 21, 2008

A flood of memories

By virtue of her talented writing, Brigid in her latest post has unleashed a raw torrent of memories for me. Like an early Christmas gift, good memories of an earlier lifetime. A simpler lifetime, before the world took notice of the chubby geek kid and loaded on the worries.

I recall.....

Building model rockets that no Estes designer ever planned. Mine had slim tubes designed for an 'A' engine, that somehow managed to house a pair of big 'D' engines. Small, heavy, and not blessed with a parachute, my 'model rockets' had noses loaded with black powder. The ejection charge ignited the main charge, and made a heck of a boom. The things a kid can play with when he has 100 acres of field and nobody watching too close.

I recall.....

An old 'Bear' recurve bow, with a draw measured in tons instead of pounds. That bow would shatter a wooden arrow, if the archer had the temerity to aim at a locust fence post. My buddy and I had contests at full field archery. Setting out a wooden crate, far, far away.... we'd take turns shooting the bow into the air at a 45 degree angle and seeing who could come closest. Often one of us would have walked half way to the the crate before the last arrow came to earth.

I recall.....

Rebuilding the old riding lawn mower into a winter joy rider. Lose the deck, install new pulleys on the drive unit, and a set of chains on the rear tires.. We'd ride the snow covered fields and spin that blasted mower in circles down slick hillsides, occasionally rolling it to the bottom end over end. Every time, we'd set it upright, kick the wheels straight, and get 'er running again for another trip.

I recall.....

Sneaking up on woodchucks with a home made spear, a soldier in a never ending battle against the rodents. It was the sight of that spear which prompted my old man to buy me my first real rifle. My friend and I rebuilt that rifle too... and were shooting woodchucks in the eye at 100 yards with a .22, when experienced hunters said it would never work.

I recall.....

Playing 'chase the can' with an old Winchester pump .22. My buddy and I discovered that if the trigger was simply held down, the rifle would fire each time it was pumped. Whether shouldered or from the hip did not matter. It sounded like automatic rifle fire, for the ten rounds it would hold. My buddy, a farm lane, a can, and pockets full of .22 ammo. BANG BANG BANG BANG......... and no one ever got close to being hurt.

I recall.....

Being a kid. Not what it means today, but what it meant back then. Freedom to play, self reliance,and the ability to get hurt and also to learn the lessons that brings.

Thanks Brigid. A good gift, which I appreciate more than I can say.


2 comments:

Crucis said...

I built a few Estes and Centuari rockets myself when younger. Mostly I built rocket launched gliders. I chased one for three miles once.

I still have an old tackle box in the garage with rocket stuff inside. Maybe a few engines as well. My Grandson is eight. I think I dust off that tackle box next summer and we'll see what we can find---and do.

Pat Houseworth said...

Good Memories for sure....ones we are not likely to see again in our lifetimes.