It Was Quadruple Jeopardy For Me!

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM.

Pumpkins weren’t hard to come by. They were laying in fields from Mr. Brooks’ back pasture all the way out both sides of the Como Road. The Cherry Bombs we bought from the disabled veteran who lived over on Forrest Avenue. I don’t recollect exactly how we put the two together.

It was an awkward age for us. We were too old to be dressing up like the Lone Ranger and “trick or treating” for candy. We had also outgrown the annual Halloween Carnival down at the high school. Come on now, we were big time freshmen; we were way too “hip” to bob for apples, throw darts at multi colored balloons or hang around the cake walk with our parents!   

But we were still too young to drive. Can you think of a worse dilemma? It’s hard to look cool when you have to walk to the Park Theatre for the feature presentation. It was more than embarrassing when Jackie Burns would pull up in his ’56 Ford and ask, “You boys want a ride to town?” We looked like we were on top of the world holding down that back booth out at Frank’s Diary Bar but the truth of the matter was we didn’t have a way to leave.

I’m not making excuses for what happened. It was like Ricky told them down at the police station after they hauled us in, “It was a bad idea that got multiplied!” Adolescence is just a term in Dr. Freud’s book…….unless you happen to be one.

It took a decently sharp knife and a minute or two to empty out a pumpkin. Drop a Cherry Bomb in that thing and the explosion would send tiny chunks of mucus and rind flying in every direction. Twisting two cherry bombs together would give you even more range. 

You might think how silly and juvenile today. We were wild with anticipation that Halloween night of 1961. “Let’s test it out on Miss Boaz.” Yogi had hollowed out an average sized pumpkin and he was raring to go. I started to protest. Mrs. Boaz was our nearest neighbor. If somehow it got back to my Daddy that we had crossed the line with a next door friend, he’d kill me graveyard dead…..or worse!

At a younger age I would have just walked away in search of some easy candy. Older, I would have certainly stood up for my neighbor against such a hair brained scheme. At fourteen, I was trying so hard to fit in. Be one of the guys. And, I must admit, blowing up pumpkins wasn’t much fun if you couldn’t share it with some unsuspecting soul.   

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