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a story from my fav-o-rite aunt...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
... who is long gone, but not forgotten. I have always denied being a party to this event, but she insisted as long as she had breath that I was one of the culprits. Having no memory of the event, while being raised to respect my elders, not 'back talk' or disagree with adults, it isn't likely my denial had any weight. But honestly, I don't think it was me. Partially because it is funny enough that if I was really one of the rascals involved, I would like to think that I'd remember - and I don't.

She claims she looked out the window of her mothers' house, which stood about forty feet from hers, and saw my cousin and I happily sitting under her house. The houses were of the era that were built several feet off the ground, I assume on the theory that cooling breezes would blow beneath and keep the inside temperature down? I'm not sure, but many from that period were built up on brick pilings or piers, some feet above the earth.

The aunt said she looked out and saw us striking matches under the house, where we apparently thought we were completely hidden from view. Anyone inside the house would not be able to see us, but anyone walking down the street or at a good viewing distance to have a sight line for misbehavior below the flooring would have been greatly alarmed. To see those happy little pyromaniacs cheerfully striking book matches for the pure joy of making fire. Under a two story house made of heart pine that, if it should catch fire, would burn down the brick piers in a matter of minutes.

What I think really happened is that it was my brother and the cousin. With a boy who was a couple of years older than the cousin and I, just old enough to be able to lead us astray, I choose to believe that it was the two guys under there, happily squatting in the doodlebugs and dirt. Industriously attempting to build a campfire with the contraband books of matches they had swiped from the auntie who was a serious smoker/coffee drinker in those days. I don't deny having the occasional pyromaniac tendency even to this day, and likely passed it along in my genes, but I refuse to believe I would have been there having all that illicit fun and not remember anything about the scene of the crime.

When all was said and done, it would be a near certainty that we got our backsides warmed. Back during that era of Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child. The auntie die enjoy telling that story, but never to the point of telling about blistering our backsides with a switch picked from the bush by the back door. Wondering if the bush was planted there just for that purpose to have a constant supply of switches to whale away on miscreants?

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