Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cinderella Was Unavailable for Comment

There were great comments on the previous two posts, about my first time getting blind drunk and my first house party. 

Sherry had an interesting point about how we tell our parents about all the sneaky stuff we pulled long after the statute of limitations is up and we can no longer get grounded.  And as it happened, she just happened to have written a post on that particular subject.  You should check it out, here.

I definitely remember having those conversations with my parents, years after I was out of the house.  We’d be sitting around and telling stories over drinks and something would come up and it would be like… “Oh yeah… you guys didn’t know about that…”

Not that I really did all that much that needed covering up…

The thing about my little group of buddies is that we balanced each other out.  Rik and John used to really go out drinking and carousing and tearing up the town.  I had never drunk more that a beer or single glass of wine until near the end of my senior year.  So as we all got together, I probably reined them in some, they loosened me the hell up and we all kind of met in the middle.

Honest to God, the worst I ever did was steal pumpkins at Halloween.

Yeah… a real hellion, I was.  But as usual, there’s a story.

There’s not really a lot to do, out where I grew up.  So Halloween provided quite an opportunity for mischief.  I don’t know who decided that this would be our group activity, but over a couple of nights, several of us drove out into the night, in search of pumpkins to steal.  And yes, we had to drive… we were out in the country… houses were NOT close together.

Most of the heists went uneventfully.  We started small, but the next thing you know, we were prowling for the big ones.  There was one house by the school that had a whole slew of them out on the porch.  This house was set down from the road, about 50 yards away.  There were four of us on this excursion: Rik, my brother Ed, John, who was driving his 2-door Camaro, and me.

Rik and I got out of the car and approached the house.  I stopped and ducked behind a big boulder in the yard and Rik went up to the porch and nabbed a pumpkin about the size of a beachball.  As I saw him running toward me, I could also see the door fly open and the homeowner come charging up the hill behind him with a shotgun. 

I know I just typed “with a shotgun” because that’s how I always remember the story.  But as I look at it now, I’m thinking, “Holy Fuck, the dude had a SHOTGUN!!  He could have killed our asses!”  I don’t know why that didn’t strike me so much at the time… probably that “indestructible” vibe that teenage boys have.

Anyway, I called out to Rik, “Look out, here he comes!”  I think Ed was yelling the same thing from back up at the road.

Fulfilling my role as a good wingman, I waited for Rik to run by me, then turned to follow.  That turned out to be a mistake.

We get up to the car, Mr. Homeowner churning up behind us, and Rik tosses the pumpkin into the back (where Ed was) and then jumps into the front seat and puts the seat back.

Holy shit!  Where the hell am I supposed to go?” I scream to myself.  Somehow, I jam myself between the front seatback and the doorframe and squeeze my ass into the back seat.  John stands on the gas and fishtails all over the road, barely missing Mr. Shotgun Wielding Homeowner as we tear off into the night.

We were damned lucky we didn’t end up with our pants full of buckshot.  And you’d think we’d have learned our lesson.  But sadly, no.

All summer, and every day on the bus to school, we drove by this giant pumpkin growing out in a field.  Thing must have been waist-high.  It really was The Great Pumpkin.  So naturally, we decided we had to grab it.
Not the actual pumpkin, but it was about this size.

The house it belonged to had a long flat driveway.  The Great Pumpkin sat on an inverted garbage can up by the house.  We pulled up in John’s Camaro… I think it was the same 4 of us as the last time, but I’m not sure.  But I stayed with the car and watched John and Rik disappear into the darkness, up the driveway.  I was wondering how the hell they were going to get that thing back to the car.

Then, as if summoned, they appeared heading back to the car, rolling the pumpkin in between them.  It took both of them to get it up into the Camaro’s trunk, and it had even been hollowed out!  It didn’t even fit in the trunk opening so we just left it open and hauled back up the road to our house.  As a parting gift, the guys left a little pumpkin, the size of a softball, up on the trashcan.

We came up with another giant pumpkin that night, I don’t remember how or where, so by the end of the night, we were the proud owners of a couple hundred pounds of pumpkin.  That’s where the lack of forethought came in… what the hell did we really want with all those pumpkins?  And more importantly, where were we supposed to put them?

Well, we put them in the workroom in The Barn, for starters.  But beyond that, we had no other plans. 

It got worse the next day, when I opened the newspaper and learned that one of our neighbors had claimed the top prize in the county for Largest Pumpkin.  They even had a picture.  Yup… it was the one we took. 

Aaaaugh!  Now it’s not just a hot pumpkin we’re storing, it’s a Prize Winning hot pumpkin.  So we did what we do best… nothing.  We just let it sit out there until winter.  Luckily, Dad was not the putter-around-the-workroom kind of dad.  But I knew it was out there, it was rotting, and eventually I’d have to do something about it.

So one winter night, we did the only thing we could… We took the pieces out and threw them in the neighbor’s pond.  I hoped they’d sink, but I didn’t wait around long to see.  I hoped the bluegill liked pumpkin…

Later I heard the neighbors wondering how the hell a pumpkin got in their pond.  I was like, “Wow… that’s weird…” I don’t think they recognized it as the Award-Winning Alpha-Pumpkin of the County though and I never felt any repercussions.

The thing is, I felt really bad about the whole affair… I knew it was a completely stupid thing to do, from the stealing to the dumping.  So I learned my lesson… no more thievery for this boy.

And that worked out, because it left me with so much more time to hang around The Barn and drink beer.  Because beer is so helpful with decision-making…

20 comments:

  1. When I tried to come clean to my parents, their response was, "um, we already knew about that. You're terrible at lying."

    Sigh.

    I never stole pumpkins, though.

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  2. I still can't come clean with Mom. She has this rosy colored vision of the past where she was the Mom of the Year and nothing got by her. She's sorely mistaken.

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  3. There were times I suspected my folks might have been onto something, but it never appeared so.

    I know I'd come home from a late night out in the bars after school and Dad would be up watching TV. I'd sit with him for 5 minutes or so, saying as little as possible, before excusing myself to go to bed. I always wondered if he knew how drunk I was. But if he knew, he never let on. I'll have to ask...

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  4. Jennifer
    I agree, there's no sense in collapsing the poor woman's carefully constructed vision.

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  5. "Because beer is so helpful with decision-making."

    Hee hee :)

    I never got into that kind of trouble. I don't think I knew anybody that did, either. Weird. Does tp-ing a preacher's house when you're at a slumber party with the pk count? When I was 12? :) God, that was a fun night!

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  6. I felt more than a little bad about my misdeeds. All that Catholic guilt...

    But I never stole a pumpkin either.

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  7. I would tell stories to my parents later and they would argue with me. "You never did that! You were a good child!" Ok, whatever you say mom.

    And I have to say, the image of a bunch of teenage boys carrying a large pumpkin and being chased by a hillbilly with a shotgun is still making me laugh.

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  8. In college, we "liberated" Christmas trees from cages outside the grocery store.

    I know someone who stole three of the giant figurines from outdoor McDonald's playgrounds--a Ronald, a Hamburglar and the replacement Ronald--in a Mustang.

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  9. Count me in as yet another person who never stole a pumpkin, but was far from being an angel.
    I agree with Faux Trixie: our parents were not as dumb as we thought, and just chose to overlook some things. Good thing, too.

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  10. If the worst my (future) son ever does is steal somebody's prize-winning Pumpkin on Steroids, then I will consider myself one lucky mother.

    (Hee!)

    I will, however, be most displeased if he ever winds up with an ass full of buckshot. I'm taking THAT hospital bill straight out of his college fund.

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  11. Goldey,
    Don’t worry, Cinderella, it wasn’t until after midnight…

    Cristy,
    Eh, minor transgression… In fact, considering the target, I’d nominate you for a medal!

    I’ve never TP’d… although once our neighbors across the street got their house TP’d while they were out of town, and my parents made my sibs and me go out and clean it up. Man, I was pissed! Nothing like being made into a public spectacle, doing something your are loathe to do.

    Sherry,
    I used to have Catholic guilt, but I got over it. But that post was my “confession.” Now I just have regular-strength guilt.


    Jessica,
    It’s just like that post from last week… Facts won’t change people’s beliefs any more, political, familial, or otherwise.

    For me, though, there really weren’t that many things my folks didn’t know about. They were usually the first people I told, because I’d be proud of the stupid shit we did or the pranks we pulled. Except for the stuff with girls… that, I usually kept to myself.

    Vange,
    The big story out here last week was that someone stole the giant fiberglass Elvis from the roof a local diner. No word on whether a Mustang was spotted in the area…

    Pat,
    Thanks for visiting!

    But geez, am I really the only one that’s ever stolen a pumpkin? Somebody’s gotta fess up…

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  12. Bachelor Girl,
    That's what I'm sayin'... I was an OK kid, if THAT was the worst I did...

    I never willfully damaged another car with mine... I never destroyed neighbor property (or mailboxes), I never had to be gotten out of the police station or go before a judge... (and that's just some shit that "other" people in my family have done." AND... I paid my own way through college. (Granted, that was a loooong time ago...) Tuition and wages have not risen at the same rates...

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  13. Charlie Brown didn't have SHIT on us WE got the great pumpkin .... Cleatus Q. Hillbilly is still searching for his Prize

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  14. Loved the story, bluz and most of all the photo at the throne of all beer lovers at the end!

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  15. Rik (Anonymous),
    You got that right! But dude, you should have followed the pumpkin into the back seat.

    I forgot to write that after we got out of the car, I looked at the gap between the front seat and the door frame and it was about 6". I have no idea how I got through there. Reed Richards (the stretchy guy from the Fantastic Four) couldn't have done it any better.

    Cher,
    I have to admit that I didn't take the picture... it was just something I had "in stock" for a number of years. But I loved the idea and it kills me that I never thought of it first.

    Hey... See you on Sunday!

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  16. Never stole a pumpkin - I did, however, wreck the car and then just casually park it for my father to discover the next morning. He totally blamed it on my mother, and traded it in the next day.

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  17. DG,
    Wow... I could never have pulled that off! How could you stay quiet when you're dad was like, "How could you do that?" And mom was like, "Hey, I didn't wreck the car!"

    I'd have pushed the idea that someone smashed into it when it was parked. Or was it too obvious that one hadn't?

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  18. I smashed it into a 2 foot curb, bending the wheel. Smashing into curbs was my mother's favorite trick. My father, the master of the understatement, never said a word to my mother, just traded it in. When I commented on the new ride, he mumbled that "well, since your mother wrecked the first one..." Understanding shake of the head, and I was out of there.

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  19. DG,
    That sounds like a situation that was a gift from God. Thank goodness you carried your mother's trait on that kind of accident.

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