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Lessons Learned

Posted April 4th, 2011 at 12:41 PM by No. 2

When a young man hits 13 years of age, the sweet, kind hearted lad once known by his family goes out the window and in walks a cocky, mouthy animal better know as a teenager. To him, that’s what my cousin and I were known as; **** teenagers. I had barely even paid him any attention before the summer of 1990, but rest assured I was fully aware of him by the start of that next school year. My Papa had retired from IMC Fertilizer in Sterlington, La. of that year and the first day of his retirement, I’m sure he wanted to go back to that chemical plant. Papa had an old 1978 Ford F-100, complete with a straight 6 engine, am radio, no air, but it had an automatic transmission, and was quite possibly the ugliest color a pick-up could be. It was sort of a pinkish color, not deep pink but a light, almost a salmon if you will, but still, to a soon to be teenager, it was pink. On top of the ugliest colored truck in North Louisiana was a copper colored cab. Nicknames were common from his generation and he called this mobile color scheme the “Copper Head”. I guess it was his way of trying to fix a manly tag to such an un-manly machine.

Our first day out of school, was also his first full day of retirement. It was late May, and it was to be the second year I was left to myself during the summer months. My aunt was an employee of the school and she’d fix lunch for my cousin and me, but other than the 30 minutes of feasting on bologna, I was on my own. It was common practice at school to have sweet gum ball wars, and I was good at it. Being pre-teen’s, we took the sweet gum war to another level that year. Previous to 1990, we’d simply hurl the light weight spiked balls at one another, hurting only the unfortunate targets pride, but this year we got mean. Did you know that if you took a sweet gum ball, stepped on it with your foot, and rolled it in the dirt, that it’d gain about a pound and was solid as a rock! During the summer, I always played baseball, and the outfield was my office. I couldn’t hit the ball hard enough to break a pane of glass but when it came to throwing it, I could put a baseball in a five gallon bucket from center field to the pitchers mound. I had aim of a pro, but the build of a small Vietnamese woman!

Similar to Michael J. Fox in “Back to The Future”, I cannot turn walk away from certain words and phrases. My verbal weakness is “I betcha” and it’s double worse if the bet centers around something I’m good at. My cousin knew this, and he also knew I was very accurate with my arm. That hot summer day we were outside, shooting cans with out pellet guns when he said “I betcha can’t hit the Copper Head from here with a gum ball.” Why I thought taking this bet was a good idea, I’ll never know bc I knew I could hit it, I knew what it would do when the soil hardened projectile hit the quarter panel of that truck, and I knew my Papa was sitting under his plum tree, not 50 yards from said target. I took my time picking out the best gum ball that I could find, slowly found soft dirt to roll it in, and now I was ready. I still have no idea why I did this, but I took a “crow hop” before the throw. A crow hop is what an outfielder will do on a fly ball to gain momentum and be able to throw the ball harder to the infielder he’s aiming for. My infielder was a half ton bucket of rust and there was no base runner and no need to gain the velocity that a crow hop will give. As soon as I let it go, I knew I was in deep ****. The throw was just a little high, but in baseball that’s what you want. Sadly for my little fair skinned ***, I wasn’t playin baseball today. I was aiming for the door of the truck and instead I hit the passenger side glass. Normally, it wouldn’t be bad if the glass were rolled up, because it’d have the whole frame to give it support. Today, however, it was rolled half way down and when that gum ball hit the window, it went into a thousand pieces, and that old man came out from under that plum tree like lighting had struck it. He ran me down. How, I’ll never know but he ran me slap down, grabbed me by my collar, and beat me like a slave. Then, when my Daddy got home I got it again.

After that day, we called a truce on the hard pranks, and learned how to live with each other. For the next 16 years he turned out to be one of the best friends I’ve ever had. He taught me how to drive, drink beer, and how to slip through the woods without making a sound. By far one of the best squirrel hunters ever to hold an A5, my Papa was a woodsman. That beating quickly curtailed me from a problem child on the brink of discovery, to a young man who learned his limits.
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  1. Old Comment
    WHW's Avatar
    A hard lesson is a lesson long remembered. Enjoyed the story, Greg, thanks for sharing.
    Posted April 4th, 2011 at 05:18 PM by WHW WHW is offline
  2. Old Comment
    CoonieGirl's Avatar
    Sweet story! Pranks and practical jokes are always 1. awesome and 2. great ways to learn where the line is

    P.S.: I betcha can't go toe-to-toe with a Coonie Girl.
    Posted April 4th, 2011 at 08:12 PM by CoonieGirl CoonieGirl is offline
  3. Old Comment
    CoonieGirl's Avatar
    P.S.S.: Speaking of awesome aim, the first and only time I ever shot a bow, I shot somebody. In the eye. True story. I was 11.

    It's a good thing the boy who let me borrow his bow (and who let me shoot him) gave me an arrow made by Nerf.
    Posted April 5th, 2011 at 07:33 PM by CoonieGirl CoonieGirl is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Cajun_Huntin's Avatar
    MAN you aint slacking thats a great story! I ENJOYED THE BEEP out of it!
    Posted April 5th, 2011 at 08:28 PM by Cajun_Huntin Cajun_Huntin is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Boscoyo's Avatar
    Great story Greg. Thoroughly enjoyed your descriptive writing! Brought back memories of the old days for me.
    Posted April 19th, 2011 at 08:44 PM by Boscoyo Boscoyo is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Casedog's Avatar
    "Aim of a pro, but the frame of a small vietnamese woman" pahaahaa, you hit the nail on the head there lil buddy.

    Great story man, i really enjoyed it!
    Posted May 26th, 2011 at 02:50 PM by Casedog Casedog is offline
  7. Old Comment
    There are some nice new and fresh articles here. you can win great prizes here too.

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    Posted July 15th, 2011 at 06:21 AM by

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