Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We were Just Kids

Today, I am going to continue with some of the story about growing up in a Village. It was a time when kids were kids but knew when to show respect for their elders.  We were a rowdy bunch and some people who didn't really know us might say we ran wild.  We didn't though.  We might leave the house in the morning and head for the river and not come home until we were hungry, but we weren't wild.  I often wondered how our mothers put up with this.  In later years my Mom told me that we were always in a group and she knew if something happened, someone would high tail it back to town.  This was before cell phones.  Heck, we didn't even have dial-up.  We had an operator at the switchboard.  If we would have used the phone, everyone in a 20 mile radius would have known what happened.  You know, it was sort of like Sarah in Mayberry. My first paying job was working at the phone office.  The job was quite rewarding, as if you were real quiet, you could learn all of what was going on.  

Anyhow, enough of that and back to the wild bunch from my youth.   

On Sunday evenings we had a youth group in one of the churches.  All of the kids my age went and we had it early on Sunday evening.  This only lasted for an hour.  In the long days of Summer, there was still a lot of sunlight left after church was dismissed.  Not being ready to call it an evening, we would walk to the river, taking the road that ran through town.  The group was made up of young teens and we probably had a lot of things to talk about as we walked the few blocks to the bridge where we would hang out.

This road was not a traveled road.  The bridge was an obsolete wooden structure that was used for one way traffic.  It was a great place to carve our names on the railing, dance to a new tune or drag your car across, if you were older and had one.  As we were walking to the bridge one evening we were singing out the words to the new hit of the day called  Stagger lee.  I can't even remember the words today but I know we were belting out...

      "Stagger Lee, called Billie, I just can't let you go with that,"
       You have won all of my money and my brand new Stetson Hat.

As we sang this song, we passed the last two houses at the edge of town.  The proprietors of of one such place were sitting on there porch and informed us that "It was a nice quiet Sunday evening and they didn't appreciate us making all of that noise as we traipsed all over town.  That was the wrong thing to say.  We continued to belt out songs at the top of our voices all the way to the river and of course this became a Sunday night habit.  

The old  "Sour Puss" continued to complain to us, our parents and even to the County Sheriff. I never did know what the deal was about walking down the road singing.  Maybe she couldn't sing, maybe she didn't like kids, maybe she just wanted to show us she could control things.  In truth, she couldn't.  We were a crew and we would not let her get the best of us.  I am sure we made her life miserable at times.  I got tired of the game and eventually the younger kids took on the job of tormenting her.  She complained about us disturbing the peace more than once but nothing ever became of it.  I think for the most part, everyone thought she was the one with the problem. . I did have a respect for my elders but for this one person.  I am sorry today that we delighted in getting her dander up  but to kid in a small village, it was just part of the excitement of the day.  And yes, it takes a Village, except for Edna of course.

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