There was a wonderful place to play near my house. Well it was perhaps a mile or so to the northeast. There was once a grand adventureland with a large pasture, woods, and a pond to explore and imagine all sorts of great deeds. One of our things to do was to take our shotguns out there and hunt dove and quail. I had no dogs to hunt with so of course I never killed anything, but that was ok with me. Wayne, on the other hand was apprarently quite an accomplished hunter. He bagged rabbits, squirrels, dove and maybe some quail. He didn’t want to have to clean any of these trophies so he would take them to give to people who would appreciate them for supper. Anyway, this wonderful land occupied pretty much the same area that the Parish Fair occupied in October of every year, so, of course, we didn’t do a lot of shooting out there during fair week.
I recall one particular time when we decided to build a log cabin. Among us we may have had three hand axes and managed to get some twine and some old tin. What our cabin eventually looked like after cutteing down several innocent trees to make it was a box. We weren’t good enough engineers to build any windows or a door, but we managed to cover the roof leaving a hole for entering and exiting our cabin in the woods. We covered the top with saplings and brush and the hole we used for our door was the scrap of tin we found. We would play Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone out there for hours. We’d have protrayed other Fess Parker characters, if we had known of any.
On another occasion, someone had the bright idea that we should build a raft for the pond. Well if we weren’t engineer enough to buile a door in the cabin, I don’t know what made us think we could build a raft, but we decided we must do this thing. Again with our little hand axes, we killed more trees and set to building our raft. I think it likely consisted of about 4-5 logs that we used more twine to tie together. It looked pretty good sitting there on the bank. Then we pushed it into the water and I think I was the first to offer to try it out. As soon as I stepped on the floating trees, which this turned out to be because the twine came loose immediately and the raft became separate logs, we sank. Fortunately the pond was pretty shallow at that point. and I waded ashore.
I can’t be positive, but I think if we had ever wanted to, we could have walked about a mile through the woods and come to the home of Willie and Agnes Aarron and their parent Johnny and Helen. And then, if we had walked just a bit further we would be at my grandparents home on Philley Lane. I never took that hike, but Wayne may have.
I sometimes think about what a stir it would cause if a group of boys were to be seen walking through town with shotguns and ammunition (we never loaded until we were in the pasture), or if someone today had found out about this same group of delinquents cutting down trees to make a cabin/fort for our Army and a raft for our Navy. Guess this would be what is called today…”Free Range Parenting.”
P.S. Our adventurland now has a series of baseball parks, the hospital, a nursing home and a variety of other things that would preclude our doing much hunting there today.