Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They gave us .22's and sent us out to play in traffic!

There's a line of thunder storms rolling into Indy. Just some fairly generic ones; some lightning and a spot of hail here and there, nothing fancy, like tornadoes. The local news has gone wall-to-wall coverage anyway.

I just heard the announcer warn "...and remember, if you hear thunder, go inside!" in an ominous voice.

I don't remember there being quite this much drama over thunderstorms in the past. I certainly don't remember ever being told "if you hear thunder, go inside!" As a matter of fact, when I was little, the newscaster used to come on and say "Hey, kids! There's a storm coming! Why don't you all grab a big ol' bowl of bacon and paint chips and ride your bikes without helmets to the swimmin' hole down at the abandoned quarry and watch the lightning!"

It's gotta be tough being a kid in these hyper-safety conscious times. Why, it was downhill both ways to the swimmin' hole at the abandoned quarry back in those days, and nowadays they've got to walk uphill both ways to get to a lame playground with foam padding instead of dirt.

25 comments:

DanH said...

Shoot, kids today can't afford to go to the playground, what with the full plate armor requirement just to play frisbee.

Joe in PNG said...

One would think that the modern layer of fat the kids are wearing would be protection enough.

Anonymous said...

I ain't hyperactive, but can ya toss me one a them Ritalin dog biscuits? With all the idiocy running loose on the street, I need to chill.... or maybe a qt. of Jack Black will do it...(sigh). JohninMd(help?)

John said...

"Hey, kids! There's a storm coming! Why don't you all grab a big ol' bowl of bacon and paint chips and ride your bikes without helmets to the swimmin' hole down at the abandoned quarry and watch the lightning!"

classic

Ken said...

I thought one was supposed to hold up a one-iron....

mikee said...

I grew up in NC, and was allowed if not encouraged, exactly, to play in the rain during summer thunderstorms. Mostly because running two miles home to go indoors seemed a bit much when getting wet was so much fun.

My wife's mother was terrified of potential tornado damage, that is, the damage potentially to be caused by a tornado should one form during a thunderstorm.

The first time I went out on our front porch to watch a thunderstorm roll over our Texas house, she was a bit concerned, but soon learned to enjoy the grandeur of nature without fear of the unlikely.

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

We were some of those over-protective parents too... My daughter didn't shoot a gun until she was five... she didn't even get her first gun until she was seven... and we didn't let her have a Honda 80R dirtbike until she was eight...

Dann in Ohio

Robert Fowler said...

I just don't understand it. We used to run out into the yard to watch the storms. The cool part was watching the rainbow that formed behind the storm. My mother took us out to see that while it was still raining. We didn't know what a tornado warning was. All we ever got from one of the 3 channels was to take cover, it was coming.

og said...

My childhood looked a lot like "Jackass", sans the jamming things up my keister bits. Should the time come, I will be perfectly willing to buy my child a couple hundred feet of bungee cord and several pounds of FFF, and enough plywood to build a kicking set of ramps.

BobG said...

When I was growing up, if a kid had shown up on a bike at school with a helmet and padding, he would have been pantsed and tied to the flagpole within minutes.

rickn8or said...

"...and remember, if you hear thunder, go inside!"

Automatic induction into The Over-Reaction Hall of Fame.

Our local tee-wee Raindrop-by-Raindrop Weather coverage is gonna have to go some to top that.

Brad K. said...

As I recall, the sue-anyone-with-access-to-insurance industry hadn't gotten started.

The playground, the playground equipment makers and installers didn't have insurance companies dictating how they worked.

A call by a busybody (as opposed to understanding-but-concerned) neighbor could call the police, and the call would be fielded by someone that understood the difference between busybodies and safety concerns. And 911 call centers didn't have to match calls and responses to grant and budget requests.

And the legacy of most Americans being farm-raised, or at least their parents or grandparents were, meant that radio and TV news programs could assume their audience understood weather and what was dangerous. Back then, a TV or radio report meant interrupting something else, and the station could lose revenue from advertisers and angry complaints from listeners -- and the reporters didn't need the extra air time to make up their Christmas (do they still say "Christmas"?) bonus, to keep up the resume to get that next raise, and to keep the weather report advertisers interested.

Not to mention parents that believe that reporters tell what needs telling, instead of what sells soap.

Rob said...

Weatherperson money tip #56:

Thunder is the sound of the sky falling.

RabidAlien said...

Watched our two nephews (8 and 12) and our own spawn (3.5) play on a playground near the Round Rock outlet mall this weekend...had to comment on the sad state of playgrounds that are made entirely of plastic and don't include teeter-totters (aka "see-saws") or merry-go-rounds. Of course, the playground did have a rather odd piece...one of the ways to get up to the top of the jungle gym-ish-play area was a vertical rope, with two pipes about 3 feet apart, the pipes had some rubber/plastic footholds on them. So, kids were encouraged to climb the rope using the footholds on the pipes. Looked like fun, actually...which is exactly what our 3.5 year old daughter thought, as she grabbed the rope and zipped down the 5-ish foot drop into the mulch bedding. LOL The look on her face was priceless! One of those "...okay...not sure whether that was good or bad, but since nobody's freaking out, I'll smile and laugh and try to do it again!"

Next weekend, we're gonna teach her stuff like "grip" and "wrap your legs around the rope before you slide down to control the rate of descent".

Nancy R. said...

Just this morning Sweet Daughter was lamenting the lack of swings, see-saws and monkey bars on the school playground. "How are we supposed to learn how to be safe if we never get hurt?" she asked.

Anonymous said...

Sorry we didn't have a playground growing up. We did however liberate enough lumber to build some pretty kick ass tree forts.

Gravity reared it's ugly head and resulted in one broken arm and a few stiches from time to time. All good clean fun.

I thought you were suppose to count the time between the lighting flash and the thunder boom. When it goes Flash-BOOM it's time to run home.

Gerry

LCB said...

When the sirens go off I take it as an alert to head for the porch so I can watch the storm...doesn't everybody???

Anonymous said...

The last time I remember seeing a couple of kids carrying .22s or pellet rifles out into the fields around where I live was about ten or twelve years ago. We used to do that all the time back in the sixties, when I was in grade school.

Things really have changed.

Mike James

Nathan said...

I remember back in my Scout-leadin' days in the '80s that one night the troop camped right through a monster thunderstorm. Wind and rain and lightning and thunder, it was awesome to behold.

Then, long about 2AM, something exploded about fifty feet from my tent. No, I did NOT go out to look at what it was. We yelled over to the other tents to see if the boys were all OK, and they were, so we let it go and went back to sleep.

The next morning, we walked over to the next campsite and saw all the wood chips from the tree that got hit by lightning. Some of which had made it through the intervening brush into our campsite.

And nobody but nobody had even so much as breathed a word about how maybe we ought to move up the hill to the dining hall during the storm.

Today, the ranger would be down there evaccing us, or possibly not even letting us camp.

It's a different world.

David said...

My 15 year old kid left the house at 8 AM yesterday to go see his friend C. He wandered back in right after sundown, just before his mother was trying to convince me to call out the national guard. As he flopped onto the couch we asked so what did you do today?

C and I were modding our nerf guns when his Dad started working in the backyard, so we went bike riding to avoid getting put to work. We rode out to the highway (looking for road kill, but don't tell his mother that - they take it and put it behind the front tires of parked cars so it looks like drivers ran over it in their driveway). (Yeah, its stupid, but they're 15 what do you expect?) Then we rode over to J's house to get some snacks, then he went with us when we rode out to the college (opposite end of town) we dirt biked around the trails there awhile, then ran into W. We went over to his house to ride his dune buggy - he was building a dirt ramp behind his house. We couldn't get much air off it yet, so we helped with that awhile. We raided W's frig but there wasn't much there so his Mom gave us money to go to burger king. Then We rode over to the soccer fields and watched W's little sister's soccer game. Then we went back to C's house. His Dad drove us over to the base and we helped pickup all the memorial day flags. Then he got us some ice cream. Then we finished modding our nerf guns and were trying them out on C's sister when she grabbed the garden hose. J and I rode back to his house and we were shooting his bb guns when W had to go, so I ...

That is where he fell asleep. Our small town is 7-8 miles N-S and 4-5 miles E-W. Our kid was at or beyond the city limits of town in all four directions that day, a couple of them - twice.

My wife looked at me and said "Wow, did you have days like that when you were his age?" I smiled and nodded told her "They were some of the best days of my childhood. And, if he keeps having days like this you should start getting used to J and W, they are going to be around a lot...

Jerry said...

Grandaddy's aluminum v-hull, middle of Ft. Nasty, and the stripes are breaking. All around three young boys, with six foot graphite Ugly Sticks. Do you catch some supper, or poll the rope on that Johnson?(KA-Friggin-BOOM)Prime it!

toadold said...

Rubber band gun fights. Knights of the round table tourney on bicycles with peach crate lid shields and broom stick lances....once. Tree houses, no parental help. The usual bb and pellet guns. Fights during recess.
I was reading that they found that Amish kids had a much lower incidence of asthma than the rest. They suspect early introduction to the outdoors and dirt ingestion has something to do with it.

Gerry N. said...

Shooting june bugs with rubber band pistols, fishing for bluegills with a willow pole and fishooks from Dad's tacklebox. Shooting gophers for the 25c bounty on the ears in Fall River Co. and 20c for the tails in Meade Co. All that loot went for .22 shells. And one time a half decent store bought cane pole. Also shot a metric buttload of cottontails and prairie chickens. Those went home and onto the menu. Couldn't afford a bicycle, so we walked. Went camping five miles from home, Mom didn't care, she could see our campfire from the backyard. As I remember my cousin and partner in crime didn't have a tent, we slept on the dirt under a war surplus poncho if we thought it might rain. My first pack was a worn out pair of levi's altered as in the Boy Scout Handbook, my first Bible. The second book I owned was entitled, if I remember correctly, "1001 Things For a Boy To Make and Do." Lotsa fun stuff in there, much involving poking lethal holes in animals up to the size of coyotes, making rafts, some with huts on 'em, and digging caves to "live" in. The authors are probably still in prison. We had some serious fun. We lived in an Army ammunition depot during the Korean War. The gummit built the kids in town a playground/field which we looked at then never approached again. There was a swale between the irrigation dam and the fill for the road into town. That swale had soft soil, a huge willow thicket and a small creek full of crawdads and bullfrogs. About eight kids dug a pit nearly 5' deep and 10 feet across, covering it with scrounged lumber, old linoleum and what not to make an underground bunker. We had candles for light and a stove made from a 5 gal kerosene tin. Some idiot shavetail drove his jeep down there one weekend and had to have a tank retriever come and pull it out of our bunker. After that the Army let us be. All he suffered was a serious blow to his pride and a bloody nose from smelling the steering wheel too hard. The guys driving the tank retriever thought it was hilarious. Dad said he'd probably never live it down. Lucky none of us were in there when the jeep hit bottom. This was all in '51 and '52 before my Dad got a job in Seattle, where I still live. I had some adventures there, too.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh -quarry's! My friends and I loved the old quarry's. Some of them had outrageous cliffs to jump off!
And one, in Vermont, was an abandoned white marble quarry, with clear water- we could see 90 feet down-still no bottom, just the old rusting crane disappearing into the blue green depths...
But the very best was in our later teens, we would ride up on our dirt bikes, girlfriends on the back, all covered in mud and dirt,and have a wonderful time swimming naked in the cool water..

gunfreezone said...

In the Dark Ages, if you heard thunder close enough and were stupid enough not to search for cover, you deserved what you got if any. Darwinism had a place in society. About the only advice we got was "Don'y get under a tree" and Don't be be waving metal rods."

And of course "Don't be late for supper."