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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Moody and Me..............."Just a Swingin"

We, Moody and I were about 12 years old, and at the age where kids like to experiment with all sorts of things that their parents don't know about. I have often wondered why kids do things when they know if they get caught, it isn't going to be pretty. Maybe it is rebellion to a certain degree, maybe just the thrill of knowing you have defied your parents. Maybe a 'dare' 'double dare' type of thing. I suppose that most all of us have had this little honory streak in us at one time or another, nevertheless, in the summer of 1965, I found myself faced with one of these decisions, and I confess, I chose honory.....................................

My mom and dad had leased the old Bell City Pool Hall/Cafe and they both worked very long hours. Sometimes, more often than not, I was what I would call 'less than supervised.' I just kind of wondered around and took care of myself, especially in the summer months when school was out. Although I was normally a good kid, somewhere along the way I decided that I needed a new form of entertainment. So nothing due but I try my hand at smoking cigarettes. I don't know how the idea got into my head. Maybe from watching all of the teens coming in the cafe and seeing them smoke. After all my dad smoked. My brothers smoked. My sister in laws smoked. Some of my aunts and uncles smoked. My cousins smoked....... well, you get the picture. Or maybe I just wanted to feel grown up like all of those teenagers I would see doing it........Never the less, there was a special spot underneath the cash register where mom and dad kept all of the tobacco inventory. It was open and easy to get to, so I had no trouble at all catching mom in the kitchen and 'sneaking' a pack or two of my favorite brands. I think through those summer months that I tried every kind they made at one time or another. I got really good at it too, with sneaking them out, and puffing. It got to where it didn't even make me sick anymore.

Thus enters my dear cousin, Moody.................. Now, I had to teach Moody all about cigarette smoking. I think she was quite the rookie. I am thinking that she was a little intimidated at first, but it wasn't long until she could puff with the best of them. I also had to teach her how to sneak in and catch the parents not looking and swipe a pack or two from underneath the counter. We would grab and run!!!! And laugh all the way to one of our favorite places which was on top of Brown's Hill. Talking about privacy!! We could be sheltered behind a couple of big rocks and not one soul would know that we were there...we didn't think about all of the smoke floating around in the air. I am pretty sure that I remember Mr. B. Rust running us off of that hill a time or two.

Another one of our favorite places to 'hide' and smoke was behind the cafe. The Shell station, a thriving business at the time, had four really, really big gas tanks behind the cafe building.. There was this little shed that held four long thick hoses, probably 4 or 6 inches thick, with a nozzle at the end. The two Mr Trophs would drive their gas trucks over and fill them up out of these large tanks. It didn't take Moody and I long to discover that these hoses made great swings. We would literally sit on the hoses, 8 or 10 feet in the air and swing, swing, swing. So that became our next favorite smoking spot............OH YES!! IT WAS!!! Looking back, I am sure that there was a band of angels that kept their hands over the two of us.. It is a wonder we didn't blow up the whole town!! I guarantee you, being kids, we were not careful with it either....never gave it a second thought. I have no idea how many times we would sit up on those hoses for hours and smoke, laugh, and swing. I can assure you this, if my dad would have caught us, I probably would not be sitting here writing this story. I am quite sure I would have had the same result if either one of the Mr Trophs would have caught us too.

Our smoking adventures continued for the next few years. When we were at her house we would sneak out to the old outhouse and light one up. Thinking we were hid of course, not realizing again that our smoke was escaping right through the big cracks in the walls.. I remember that Moody's sister caught us one time. She seen the smoke escaping from the cracks and sneaked up on us. We had to beg her and promise that we would NEVER do it again if she would only have mercy on us and not tell her mom and dad....... WE LIED!!! We smoked every time we got the chance. We would ride the bicycles down to the hog pen back in the woods and sit on the fence and blow our smoke...... AWWWWW SWEET SMELL, cigarette smoke and hog manure!!!!!!! Later years when mom and dad didn't have the cafe any longer, we would throw our nickels and dimes together and try to get enough money to buy us a pack. If that wasn't feasible, then we would look around the house and dig 'butts' out of the ashtrays where my dad had smoked previously...YES WE DID!! Now that is pretty dang GROSS!!! And so it went until somewhere along the way it wasn't much fun anymore...I never continued with the habit in my adult years, don't know if she did or not. But we sure had a lot of fun experimenting with it.

I know that some of you are asking,"why in the world would smoking be such a precious memory." I really don't know, other than it was time spent with my best friend. A time when, once again, we were young and carefree, with not a worry in the world (other than getting caught of course.) When life was an adventure, and everything we did was a laugh. Not just a laugh, but a 'laugh till you hurt' kind of laugh. As I reminisce back on it, I can still see us sitting there on our swings, she facing one way, and me the other. That way we had each other's back, just in case someone came around the corner and surprised us. But most of all it was just another summer day when two cousins shared another bond and a promise of 'cross your heart until you die' secret that no one could ever drag from our lips......................................................................................