“Fun” with water balloons . . .
Sometimes you wonder how your kids manage to survive to become adults. And, at the same time, how do Mothers?
It was a nice summer day, and I was peacefully hanging my laundry on the clothes line. John was off someplace with his own adventures, and my son Bill and his friend Steve were hanging around my back yard, not old enough to be off on their own. I thought I was keeping track of them.
They had some balloons and were filling them with water to see how big they could get before exploding. Such a calm summer day. Yeah.
All of a sudden I heard the squeal of brakes out on the Street and almost at the same time, those two kids came running around the east side of my home, passed me as if I weren’t there, disappeared over the hill and then west toward Eskelsons before I could even ask what happened?
Obviously they hadn’t been hit by a car for their short little fat legs were going as fast as they could and it almost seemed funny as I recall, for those little legs could only go 12 or so inches at the most. They couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old.
I didn’t have time to even wonder what was going on, when a man followed right behind them and, Lordy, was he ever mad. I realized later than he had also been scared stiff, and could hardly wait to get his hands on those two kids. But they were gone. He’d have really given them a good beating if he had caught them, whether I was there or not there.
“Where are those blank, blank kids???? Where are they???? Blank, blank %$#**&@ three foot long squash hit my windshield *)%%$#&!” I was trying to find out what had happened, but with all the yelling, kids running and brakes screeching, Jake, my brother-in-law who lived next door up at Gram’s, heard it all and hurried down to see what was going on.
His calmness, (Jake was good that way) helped to calm the man down and Jake found out that the kids had thrown water-filled balloons at his car and one big one had hit and exploded on his windshield. To tell the truth I can’t blame him for being scared, for at first he didn’t know what had hit him, and secondly, what could have happened as he had been blinded by the impact. And then when he found out it had been just water, it made him angrier. Really mad. I couldn’t blame him either.
The kids were far from home by then, or at least hidden in some chicken coop or such. There was no finding them, but Jake spoke calmly and made sure that the man and his car were un-damaged, gave him a chance to ‘blow off steam’, and then still calmly assured him that the kids would be punished, etc. etc.
Finally the man left, but Jake had taken his name, given him his, etc. Lots of such stuff to give the man a chance to calm down and let him know some one was not only hearing him, but was going to take care of it all. He left, but he was one mad man. Going right to the police, he said. Maybe he did, but we heard nothing more right then.
It was a couple of hours before Bill dared sneak home and Steve to his. They were two scared kids. Jake talked to them and told them how dangerous it had been, and once Jake knew no one had been hurt, he wanted to laugh, too. But he didn’t.
All’s well that ends well, and that day it did, but I still can see Bill’s short, kid legs churning away and over the hill faster than he ever had or ever did again.
And now, fifty plus years later while writing these words, I asked Bill if he remembered that day, and he responded: “I sure do remember. I ran like hell over the hill and I hid out in Eskelson’s Mink Farm building. Thank heavens Jake (his uncle, Fenton Crozier Bradford) was there to save the day, and cool everything off. And later on, ‘Shine’ DeLand, the Murray Police Chief, came and chewed us out royally to let us see how dangerous it could have been if the man had lost control of his car and hit something else or another car. Yeah, I remember it well.”
Mothers earn their gray hair, one kid at a time.