Monday, January 02, 2012

Living to Tell About It

I had a good afternoon today.

I drove around doing errands with my second eldest daughter which afforded us time to speak of many random things. I love this time to be alone with my children separately as it allows the closeness between us to resurface and become fresh again. We spoke of our recent New Year's Eve celebration with my best friend's family and how much fun we had laughing, eating and displaying how stupid four college graduates could be in lighting (or not being able to light) fireworks. This topic was the
avenue my daughter used to ask me what New Years Eve's were like when I was younger. As I thought about it, I was stunned that these experiences hadn't ever been relayed to my ever curious children who seem to be overly enthralled with some of my childhood antics. Countless times I have questioned the wisdom of retelling these legends as I fear they will be repeated (much to my absolute grief and horror) by my porous progeny that pick up my bad habits like black fabric picks up dog hair. But, against my better judgement, I told her the following story anyway.

All I can say is that I lived to tell about it and that should sum up the amount of supervision that was present at some of these childhood New Year's Eve festivities.

I lived in a
cul-de-sac in Arizona with the two houses to our left consisting of five other children my age (around 13) and older (maybe 17). The amount of intelligence with all of us grouped together on New Year's Eve probably rivaled that of a toddler drinking rum while playing with a loaded gun. Our parents were inside their homes with guests celebrating with the express directive for us kids to "go outside and play". To help accomplish this, they would all pool money together and rent us roller skates.

Innocent enough.

The other resources that they unknowingly provided (and we used with mouth foaming joy) were: a sledge hammer; cap guns; a
buttload of caps; matches; tennis balls and the ever-so-necessary pound of jet fuel.

I am not kidding about the jet fuel.

The beginning of a New Year's evening would start out by roller skating our brains out until we became bored and thought of another activity to pursue. The sledge hammers made their appearance and we would use them, instead of the cap guns, to decimate the caps. Overkill would be a good word to use here. We looked like lumber jacks smashing with great fervor just to hear the pops of the caps......hundreds at a time.

Risky, a little, but still not too bad.

I know, I know. You are still wondering what we did with that jet fuel. Well, we played soccer......with flaming tennis balls......while roller skating.

Yes, we did.

We took each of the tennis balls, slit a hole and poured jet fuel into each one and then doused the outside of them with fuel. We then lit them on fire and our soccer game, using these rolling torches, would begin.

It is a well known fact that people with no butts are not fast. (Now before you go arguing with me, just name one Olympic sprinting champion with a flat badonkadonk. See, you can't can you!?.) Since I admittedly have a concave one, I was strategically placed as goalie at the mouth of the cul-de-sac so as to keep my slow-ness out of play. This was potentially a lethal mistake on my accomplices' part. The game went really well until someone pulled enough co-ordination together on roller skates to kick this mini flaming comet in my direction. (Please note that this was not accomplished until this ball had made several guest appearances on two to three award winning green lawns leaving trails of horrifically burned grass behind it.) Seeing the mobile inferno blazing a trail in my direction sent me into a physical frenzy much akin to a dog trying to sprint from a stand still on slick linoleum. My concave butt-less self was going nowhere fast......on roller skates.

I would not be a hero on this night.

As the ignited ball laughed passed me, I heard desperate screams for me to "STOP the ball!!!" I seriously put all my heart and soul into trying to prevent the ball from passing me but to no avail. To all my flat butt brothers and sisters......I failed you.

We were not having fun anymore.

And we began to have a whole lot less fun as the terrorist of a ball rolled slowly across the street under a parked and newly purchased (and much bragged about) Volvo of one of the guests in our homes. Let me put it this way. Constipation was not a problem at this juncture. It was now silent as we gasped with the knowledge that each of us would not live to see our next birthday. If the blast didn't kill us, surely our parents would.

We waited.

And we waited.

And the tennis ball rolled casually and miraculously out from under the car on the other side still blazing like a miniature version of the sun. How and why that car wasn't blown sky high is still a mystery to all of us today.

There were several important lessons to be learned that evening.

1) I was never to be chosen for goalie again.

2) Jet fuel is for jets.

3) Flat butted people are best used as score keepers.

After telling my daughter about this particular New Year's Eve adventure, I looked over at her and she was catatonic. I worried that maybe I had said too much or maybe she was just plain appalled at my behavior as a child. Maybe this story should have waited until she was 40? After a couple of seconds, she came to with just one take away question:

Mom...... do I have a flat butt?????


  1. I have never heard that story -- growing up with you was never boring!

  2. Yes, we were quite the pair!! Maybe I should blog about one of our infamous food fights???

  3. OMG---I seriously can see my kids doing all the above said things. If only they could get their hands on jet fuel--where in the world did you get that??????

  4. One of the families in our cul-de-sac had a Dad and a teen aged son who were in the military. I am not sure of the reason why they had a pound of jet fuel in their garage, but it was there......and so were we. :)

  5. Haha! So funny. Seems disturbing how much our parents didn't know about our going-ons now that we are parents, eh?