One can only imagine the freedom a nine and a ten year old boy have when living on a huge farm. Once the gardens have been plowed and harrowed there is time to spare. This is not such a great thing for boys such as we were. Our only rule was, “sun is out, get outside”.  We did not have any shortage of imagination.  Sometimes, we even had an ounce or two of common sense. But that did not slow us down inventing games. There was no such thing as game boys or store bought toys. As long as the parents heard the right type of human noises, all was fine. They knew we were ok. When there was no noise or little sister was crying, they came looking. This was a sure sign we were in trouble. After having been cooped up all winter and spring, we were wild for sure. It was almost letting wild stallions out for the first time. One of the games, we enjoyed was rolling old tires around. But it didn’t take long before this got boring. There were small hills about, but even that didn’t keep us busy for long. One of us came up with the awesome idea of the barn roof. The winter’s manure pile was almost up to the roof overhang. We could step right on the roof from that height. Now, I will say mother frowned upon this game. She was afraid we would make a hole in the roof. Then someone would have to repair the tar paper. So we were very careful not to mess up that roof. This was when we learned how to actually repair a rip so no one would notice. But the game, was take the tire to the top of the roof and ride it down. One would hold the tire while the other climbed in. Then away we would go. Being most careful not to mess up the roof. Down the roof, down the manure pile and a flying we went. One was in the tire and the other chasing. When the tire came to a stop the rider had to jump out and run. This was no easy chore but was quite funny. Then back up to the roof we went and now it’s my turn. Well this game got quite old after a trip or two but energy was still high. It was early summer and there was not enough chores to keep us out of trouble. So, we went to another of our favorite games. Now, this game, I do not recommend any city boys try. We didn’t even allow any of the girls in this game. They may have been tough, but just not tough enough. When they got hurt, they cried and got us into trouble. It was quite a simple game with just a few rules. The trees in the orchard were just beginning to make little green apples. We would cut a stick that was perfect in our eyes. The object was to gather up the same amount of green apples. Each boy was to choose his special place in the orchard and the game would begin. If any of you folks have played paint ball games, this was how it started. We would put a small green apple on the end of that stick.  With just the right movement, we could send that apple just a flying. Of course, the object was hit the other fella. We got so we were quite accurate with our aim. But every now and then the opponent got one beside the head. Usually you could just duck and survive the attack. But when two were against one, someone, got clobbered for sure. If we got hit, we just toughed it out. We knew the girls would cry for sure if they got hit in the face with an apple. After we ran out of apples, that game ended. But the fun was just starting. We would go about and find other moving targets. Of course, sooner or later, we would get in trouble, but I sort of think that was the best part of the game.  All this fun and excitement ended when we moved to Rangeley.  That first summer in Rangeley, I didn’t have any special chores or a job. That began to be a most boring summer until my cousin and I started inventing things to do.  We took an old set of roller skates and made a game with that.  Each one of us took a skate apart and put the wheels on a board. This was great fun skating down Pleasant street. But of course, we forgot about stopping when we reached the intersection by School street.  A couple of times, we went full speed right by School street. This was almost a dangerous game due to cars coming and going. Once, we had to do an emergency stop. This is the first time we were introduced to road rash. There was no such thing as tarred roads on the farm.  We made a quick executive decision to find something different to do. It was not the last time, we kissed the tar that summer. As luck and the grace of God would have it, I had plenty of odd jobs the next summer. There was no need to kiss the tar that year. That was the summer the circus came to town. They held quite a circus event and I got a job selling peanuts and feeding the animals. I am not sure what I miss the most about those days.  The freedom living on the farm and just doing stuff or being a young fella in the city. There were actually girls in the city. And they were not related was the best part. This was a whole new type of life for a young fella. This was also the end of getting that almost regular whooping. I was just too busy doing stuff and trying to be a nice person. Boy, I am glad I don’t have to worry about that stuff now.      Ken White  mountain man.

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