I find it amusing to think back on the stuff that I have done, not the good deeds, the acts of kindness, or even times when I was being an upstanding citizen. I mean the fun stuff, getting in trouble and various misdeeds. Not that I now approve of said misdeeds but it is funny how I felt I was “living on the edge” or toying with the long arm of the law.
When I was six or seven, there was the time that a neighbor kid (I don’t remember his name) and I were taking fistfuls of mud and grass and hurling them up over their tiny rental house. Little did we know (or little did we choose to accept) that these were hitting cars. Eventually people were starting to stop their cars, so I fled home and immediately opted to take a shower. A side note: anytime little kid actively wants to a shower, it’s probably not a good sign. While in the shower, the doorbell rang, it was the police. I was sure that the police threatened my parents, told them I was bound for ‘juvy’, I was a bad seed and I had better change. Needless to say, I stayed in the shower for as long as the warm water was running.
Once out of the shower, I’m sure I got an earful or two about being part of such stupid antics, but I knew I was it was bad and I had sort of liked it.
But my favorite was my unintentional law breaking. Like most kids who between ages nine and eleven, I and my friends were constantly play guns. From different parts of Woodburn and various backyards you would hear the caps pop off with the screams of “I GOT YOU!” and rebuttals scream of “NO YOU DIDN’T!”. Those were the days.
Almost all of the time, the game of guns took place with Ben and Sam Thomas, and the other kids we could round up from Corby Street. In the Thomas backyard or down in Spider Park (Where we had booby-trapped a portion of a hill) was where we were most often taking fire. But the creme de la creme of ‘guns’ venues was the fertilizer mill behind the Thomas house. Rising up four or five stories behind their property, the mill was a huge complex of buildings and hiding places. The mill was so big, it actually stretched across a street into another set of buildings.
We were in the midst of a heated guns battle in the mill. I’m sure that my team was winning (technically, there were no good guys or bad guys, but a hiding team and an assaulting team). As my team was assaulting, someone went this huge metal ramp that is used for loading trucks. This ramp was meant to be mobile and either side could be raised or lowered. The person who walked up the ramp quickly found that the top of the ramp on which he was standing, quickly crashed to the ground with an amazing crash, it echoed off of the mill buildings and the houses across the street.
My fellow assaulter team members, knew that someone would at least come see what the sound was, so we moved deeper into the mill complex to not be right near the street. We continued our assault, checking out the different recesses of the building, checking under the semi truck left under the fertilizer loading tower, and into the alley of huge rooms where they store piles of their product. As my assault team and I walked into the alley a little ways, a police officer drove past the end of the alley and saw us. Because we are upstanding, well-intentioned youngsters, we turned and ran as the lawman backed up to come down the alley. Some of the team scattered down the hill and our the backside of the mill, but Ben and fled into one of the giant rooms that had a pile of fertilizer that was easily eight feet tall. We jumped into the room and hid behind the massive pile of processed chicken droppings. Watching from a backside corner, I saw the long arm of the law slowly drive down the alley past our hiding place. Luckily, we must have blended in well with the fertilizer because we weren’t seen. The fuzz drove past us and out the other side; we were sure our brothers in arms were going to take the fall (which, at the time was acceptable by me). We hid among the fertilizer for about ten minutes, carefully checked to make sure the S.W.A.T. team wasn’t waiting in the wings to snatch us up. We slid out the back of mill and ran back to Ben’s house, apparently, his house was the unofficial rally point for all of us miniature dirty dozen. We reveled in our escape from the law, we had just evaded (at least in our minds) some serious stints in the clink. We quickly shared our embellished tales of our actions, bravery, and flagrant disregard for the law and our own safety. And then, of course, we picked teams again and prepared for yet another round of “I got you” and “No you didn’t.”
Playing Guns is hard enough without needing to run from the cops, not to mention that reloading a ring of caps is hard while taking enemy-fire–so this time, we stuck to Ben’s backyard but I’m certain that we were bound for the fertilizer mill the next afternoon.
I’m sure that the case is still open in the cold case department of the Woodburn Police Department, sitting in that file is some vague description of Ben and I, but if I have to, I’ll continue to run.