Friday, July 19, 2013

Flashback Friday

I think a lot about this house that I live in. It's haunted.  When I say that, I don't mean by ghosts (although they are there too, I think).  Maybe I asked for this, buying my grandparents' house.  Well, there's no maybe about it...in fact, I guess that was the whole point.

My thoughts today center around us "kids".  When I was young, there were five of us cousins, four boys and yours truly.  It's no wonder that as an adult, I'm more comfortable hanging out with guys...it was a matter of survival when I was a kid.

We ran wild.  My PA cousins would come in for the summer, or a holiday, or just because, and all HELL would break loose.  We tramped through fields to explore neglected cemeteries.  We crossed train trestles with rivers below.  We played in creeks running through concrete culverts under the train tracks.  We put all of our pocket change on the tracks to be smashed flat by the trains.  We threw rocks at lazy black snakes dangling from the trees, and we built forts under and against any low-hanging bush or tree that  lent itself to it.  We raced go-carts on the "little road" in front of the house, no helmets or safety gear involved.  We walked to the bridge crossing the interstate and stood for hours getting truckers to blow their mighty horns at us, waiting for the thrill of the ones that honked under the bridge, because it was much, much louder.  

We did other less wholesome things, too.  We stole cigarettes from the old folks and snuck off with them.  I always had a castoff lighter to play with.  We sipped the foam off my grandfather's beers, with permission, and snuck sips of the harder stuff without.  My cousin would sic his dog after me just to make me cry, and I'd be furious at myself when I did.  I learned a lot of really cool cuss words and Pennsylvania slang.

Things changed when we got older.  More "cousins" were added, the "next gen," because even though we were all first cousins, they were much, much younger.  By the time those kids arrived, things had settled down considerably. We were all teenagers and more obsessed by "sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll" than by climbing over barbed wire fences and getting chased by angry bulls.  They were also watched a little more closely than we were in those idyllic years of the 70's.  So, they missed out on some stuff, but I know they also have their own things to remember.

"Honking the trucks" is one of the few crossovers.  That was something that we, as teenagers, could be trusted to do with the little guys, so we'd gather them up and walk with them to the bridge.  Still dangerous, now that I think about it.  I'm not letting Andrew go hang out on an interstate bridge alone any time soon! But they loved it just as much as we did.

It's been awhile since I've walked down there for any reason, much less to stand above the highway and make an ass out of myself.  Somehow, we never cared about that.

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