Your blog about Grandpa, (my Dad) made me think of several funny stories he had told me over the years. I thought I would write about one most had not heard.
When Dad was growing up in the Depression things were unusually tough. The only entertainment was what the youngsters could provide for themselves. The one bright spot was there were lots of kids around since most of the land was farmed by share-croppers, and a big family was the only source of labor for the farmer. However, this also provided a large pool from which to pick best friends and bad ideas. I always thought it was interesting that one of Dad’s best friends was Mother’s younger brother. But the closest friend he had was a cousin who died at about age 15 from appendicitis. I believe both of them and a couple of other neighbor kids were all involved in this particular legendary stunt.
On the rare day off from farm work they would all ride their horses to met and come up with some sort of entertainment. Their horses were plow horses by day and magnificent racing steeds by night. This particular afternoon 5 or 6 of the guys decided to ride down the river from the old homestead to a new swimming hole someone had discovered just across the river. Although the pond was pretty small, probably not more than 30 yards across it, there were big cottonwood trees around it for shade. It was in a grassy meadow with a large sand bank on one side for diving. The sand bank was important for two reasons. One, it provided a place where they could hide their horses from view, since no one seemed to know if it was alright with the owner for the pond to become the local swimming hole. And secondly, it provided a grass burr free environment where they could undress and then race over the bank and dive into the pond. Now notice that I said undress, not change. Change implies there were swimming suits involved. Farm kids of his generation considered swimming suits something wimps who lived in town had to wear.
They tied up the horses and then the race was on. Someone yelled “Last one in is a rotten egg”. Clothes and boots flew everywhere and over the hill they ran yelling and screaming—right into the church picnic/baptism being held to celebrate the end of a weeklong revival.
Dad said he never saw such a commotion as they tried to turn back, get out of the water and back over the hill to their horses. They always wondered how many of the boys could be recognized by their bare bottoms going over the hill. He said all he remembered was them not taking time to dress, gathering their clothes and riding off as threats were yelled from the top of the sand bank.
It was pretty late in his life when he told me that story. I think he wanted to make sure all the church ladies were dead before he confessed to being part of the skinny dipping church social gang.
--Guest blog, written by Mr. H.