My memory of “a summer I will never forget” is particularly out of sync with what is happening at the current time in America. All across the land gun laws are being debated, and many schools have written new codes of conduct that forbid students from even the slightest action or activity that might depict a gun or the use of a gun.
Being forbidden to play with cap guns or BB guns would have never occurred to us when I was young. And that type of play was carried over to my children’s generation. Now it seems destined to become a relic of the past, which is why looking back and writing about how things were is maybe a useful thing to do.
I well remember one special summer that kept me and my gang of friends busy climbing on roofs and hiding behind trees.
It all centered on my Dad’s resourceful way of keeping us occupied by helping us make our own toys. Did my Dad come up with a unique invention that year? Not really, but at the time we really believed he had thought it up all by himself which must have given him a few private chuckles as he watched us play!
A poem: A Summer I Will Never Forget
My Dad was very resourceful.
He always wanted to come up with
a real invention, but the closest he
got to finishing anything was a cup, ball
and string toy that never caught on
with us kids, but we didn’t tell him that.
That being said, there was one
special summer when he really came
through with about the best toy
that my friends and I could have
hoped for. He invented a wooden
gun that shot rubber “bullets.”
We were pretty skeptical when
he described it to us, because we
had the cup, ball and string thing
in the back of our minds. But we
weren’t a fussy bunch of kids,
and we thought it was worth a try.
He hunted through his wood scrap pile
but didn’t have any luck finding just the
right thickness, so he went to the grocery
store and got two orange crates.
He took them apart and had four
perfectly good end pieces to work with.
He made a paper pattern of an “L” shaped
gun, a bit fatter on the short side for the
handle and thinner and longer for the
side of the “L” that would be the barrel.
Then he traced two gun outlines on each
board – we needed eight guns in all.
It took Dad quite a bit of time to cut
out the first gun because his hand saw
wasn’t the best anymore, and then he
got busy doing chores. We kids didn’t
want the summer to be over before
we got our guns, so we came up with a plan.
The whole bunch of us traipsed over to
the lumber yard, politely asked for help,
and in no time we had seven more guns.
That power saw was a marvel to behold!
Back home Mom relinquished eight of
her prized snap clothespins, reluctantly.
Dad was on fire about that time. He found
a worn-out inner tube, laid it flat and then
cut through the double thickness to produce
a rubber ring. He tied that in the center and
triumphantly showed us our first “bullet.”
All that was left was to attach the clothespin.
There was no stopping Dad now. He found
some wire to attach the clothespin to the back
of the gun, and then stretched the rubber “bullet”
from the end to the back of the barrel,
where he clipped it into the clothespin.
It was loaded, cocked and ready to fire!
We were on our own now, with one slight
problem. One inner tube didn’t do it for
“bullets” for eight guns, so we did our traipsing
act to a gas station. They were glad
to get rid of some old tubes, and you would
have thought that we had won the lottery!
What a summer that was. We hid behind
trees, climbed on top of low-roofed sheds,
and shot the “bullets” until we had to
double tie them to shorten them up again.
Dad was our hero, of course (and Mom for
her prized clothespins). It was a great summer!
Tags: looking back; poetry; prose; seniors
- personal experience