Somehow, Kids Get Lucky #1

sand

Last night, around 3:00 am, I awoke in a cold sweat. I had been dreaming of an incident from my childhood, and I thought I would share it with my fellow bloggers.

Growing up, I found myself inextricably linked to a number of people in our community. The memories linger to this day. Looking back at my childhood, I am convinced that kids, especially those like me, luck out now and then. I did.

A neighbor owned a large sand pit, which he no longer operated commercially since he developed some medical issues and retired. None of the neighborhood children were allowed near the property, but my friends and I never knew why. On a daily basis, we took some large metal saucers designed for sliding down hills in the snow and used them to ride the sand piles.

On the other side of the pit lived a strange man. We never knew his name. He lived alone with his elderly parents, and as with the sand pit, we were not allowed near him either. Although young, we were aware of his odd personality. The man was huge, with the face of a monster, and never smiled. To this day, I do not know whether he could speak. All we knew is to run whenever he peered at us through his kitchen window.

One summer day, under the guise of going fishing, I accompanied four of my friends to the sand pit for a few rides down the hill. Half the fun was trying to stay in our saucers. Falling out on the way down the sand pile filled a boy’s pants with burrs and caused the other kids to laugh hysterically all afternoon. However, on this day, upon our arrival at the pit, we formulated a plan based on a story we had seen on TV the evening before.

We figured it would be a pretty cool idea to build underground forts in the sand pile to hide from our enemies, usually Indian warriors on the rampage, or Nazi tank battalions trying to capture us. Most of the sand pit was what we called “un-diggable,” because the sand re-filled the hole as fast as we could shovel with our saucers. Grant found a hard packed section that was a little moist, where the rain the night before had mixed the sand with muddy dirt. We found our spot.

Billy and I dug our fort on the left side of the hill. Grant, Richie, and Dave dug on the right. I have only the memory of a ten-year old boy, but the dugouts seemed quite deep to us. They must have been because they hid our bodies from our imaginary foes. Nevertheless, it did not take long for the forts to collapse. Billy and I were fortunate, but the other three not so much. When the structures caved in, the sand from the side of the pit filled their cave like an avalanche, covering the fort and the boys.

Billy and I dug frantically, in vain, in an attempt to free our friends, no longer in sight. It seemed like hours, but I am certain it was less than a minute.

It was at this point I awakened from my dream last night, yet I still vividly remember what occurred. Out of nowhere, the huge, odd, monstrous neighbor who had been peering through his kitchen vantage point appeared on the scene. I remember being tossed aside while he rapidly extricated my friends from their cave fort. They all survived, and probably lost more sleep than I did over the years.

Who knows why kids do these things, and how they manage to escape. I suppose it was traumatic, since I still recollect the fear so many years later. I also remember telling my mother I was fishing, but got skunked.

. . .

Comments

  1. As a parent, these are stories you hope your kids never tell you...better for them to lie. I think everyone can look back to a time when they could have been seriously hurt or killed because kids do such stupid stuff. I've heard it said God protects drunks and little children, in this case he sent one of his "mistakes" to save those lives. Well apparently others thought he was a "mistake" you and your friends know better.

    Wonderful story!

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    1. You're right. I don't even want to know what my kids did.

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  2. He was your Boo Radley. No wonder you became a writer.

    Julie

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    1. I never thought about it, but he did look a lot like my mental image of Arthur from the book.

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  3. The world is filled with tragedy. Stories of bad things happening to good people Wrong place, wrong time. Heck, our news channels load their "play list" with this sort of stuff and call it News. I have never understood why News must be all of the Garbage Stuff. But, it gets the ratings, or so "they" say.

    Anyway, to balance out all of that junk that we know goes on in this world, there is just as much Good Stuff. Right place, right time. Help from unexpected sources. Miracles. Near misses. Falls that should have resulted in paralysis or death, but someone walks away just fine. Amazing, good things.

    Your story is like that. I held my breath at the end and gratification rushed over me when the Scary Guy came to the rescue. In the end, I am glad your parents found out. They learned that guy was a good person, even if he didn't look "right" to them. They also learned that miracles happen every day. Maybe they would have been happier finding out that a miracle happened to someone else's kid... but, hey, it is what it is.

    I notice that you titled this #1... I hope it means you have more of these coming. Great stuff!!!!

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    1. Robin: You are probably right, but based on the rest of my life adventures, I probably just stepped in shit. Yes, there is more to come.

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  4. Great story! My son tells me once in a while of the places he has skateboarded. How he lived through that time in his life I'll never know. Guess all my prayers for his safety worked!

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    1. Jennifer: I know. I'm not sure I want to know what my own kids did. I'm just happy they made it through.

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  5. Oh my, I just had a feeling that would happen. You know being a mother and grandma we think of these things now after we learned them the hard way in our childhood! I hope the mothers made a batch of cookies and took them over to their son's Knight in Shining Sand Prince!

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  6. Hi JJ ... not funny one little bit - and I bet your friends have had many more nightmares about that day than you have - those yours too have stuck ..

    Thankgoodnes for big guy monsters - who are real and kind ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary: You're right. None of us ever got a chuckle over the incident.

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  7. That sounds like it should be a Little House on the Prairie episode. Wow.
    We had something like this when I was a kid too. they cleared the woods across the street from our house to put up apartments, but the mountains of dirt kept us entertained for weeks. We'd take our bikes to the top and ride them down. And of course were filthy daily. :)

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    1. Pk: I agree, except that Little House never seemed to have a happy ending.

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  8. I'm glad your story had a happy ending. Even those of us who were "good kids" went places we were absolutely forbidden to go, and did stupid, reckless things I guess. One of the places I couldn't resist, even though it was about a five-mile walk from my grandmother's house, was Humphry's Concrete Company. There were huge mountains of sand and gravel for my cousins and me to play in. I'm pretty sure we wore out at least a regiment of guardian angels.

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    1. Susan: I'm sure today your sense of caution is "set in stone."

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