Ten Was Fun


| 1/29/2014 2:49:00 PM


Tags: On Being Ten, Adventure, Something New, Boyhood Mischief, Vern,

Pennsylvania Adventures”Boys, you better stop throwing stones onto that roof!  When your dad get’s home, you’ll be sorry.” Harsh words from a mom who had her hands full with a couple of boys who were 8 and 10, and a few in the house still in plastic underpants. Of course we stopped, for a while, and went looking for mischief somewhere else. Just one of the many things I experienced as a young boy on our small farm in south-central Pennsylvania.

The year was 1950, and my younger brother and I were starting to experience life on the farm, and how sometimes it can get one into trouble. The barn, hog pen and chicken house all had tin roofs, and it was just so much fun to find flat stones and just skip them onto the roof of one of the farm buildings. I suppose we just liked the sound and the skip, I don’t know. To be sure, it wasn’t appreciated by the proprietors, especially when we chose bigger stones and they landed with a thud and made a hole in the tin. We were fairly warned, so on to something else.

Barn with tin roof - iStock 

Photo: iStockphoto.com/normawilson

Dad turned the hog pen into a nice work shop, and in that smorgasbord of nuts, bolts and paints, there surely was something we could get into. One of my favorite things to do was make gold or silver nuggets. We had just gotten TV and the influence of the Lone Ranger had rubbed off onto me. I would walk along the road and pick up a handful of stones (seems I had a thing for stones) about the size of a nickel. Then I would lay them out on a board, find a can of Dad’s spray paint, preferably gold, and spray them until they looked like gold nuggets from a stage coach robbery. After they were dry I would put them into a bag and pretend I was rich.

Sometimes being a man with a bag of gold was not enough, and I would change professions and become a baker of mud pies. This was also serious business. Not any old garden soil would do. It needed to be sifted so there were no lumps in the batter. Water was added to make them the right consistency. Then they were formed into a patty shape, decorated with dandelion flowers and left to bake in the hot sun. The next day we pretended to eat them.




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