Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gary and the bag of Rocks

When I was about seven years old, the neighborhood kids all played outside together--pretty much in all of the daylight hours.

There was a "gang" of us-- my brother was Tony, a few years younger than me, and there was Lisa, Stacey, her sister Tracey, and Gary.  Gary was my age.  Every day we would gather at someone's house and do big kid things like play on the bikes or race around on the big wheels.  We were creating adventures in the woods, which usually were inspired by the famous television shows of our day.  A very popular inspiration for us was The Six Million Dollar Man/ Woman and Happy Days.

For those who remember Happy Days, our neighborhood cool guy was Gary, and he always got to be the Fonz.  Later on, Gary got to be "Gene Simmons" when they dressed up as "K.I.S.S." and had a virtual band in our garage.  It never occurred to any of us that the entire world of kids didn't dress up every day with makeup on and use tennis rackets for guitars and sing along with the music.. for hours..  But I digress.

So, Gary had a plan, and somehow it only involved Gary, Lisa and I.  The plan was probably inspired by a Happy Days episode, but I can not be sure.  Gary made up this plan that we were all going to run away together.  He decided to ask his mother to pack him a lunch, and we were supposed to do the same.

The problem was.. that Lisa and I really didn't want to run away.  That seemed kind of crazy, even to a seven year old.  But Gary was cool, and he was the Fonz, so we felt obliged to go along with his plan... to some degree.

And I got this wild idea.  Why not grab a couple of lunch bags and fill them with rocks and gravel and make it "look" like we were ready to "leave town"??

Looking back, I have no idea how we were planning to transport ourselves in this journey. I don't even think we were taking bikes.  This was a "walking" running away adventure, at best, with no real plan beyond the call for a sack lunch.

And Gary was so busy with his mental preparations for this journey, that he left the entire lunch detail to his sweet mother.  A little about Gary's mother..  Gary was born when his parents were probably in their late 40's or 50's.  He had a brother who was the same age as my parents.  And his elderly little mother had no idea she was an accomplice to his crazy plans...

So, Lisa and I arrived on the scene.  We rang the doorbell at Gary's house.  The perfectly manicured lawn, neatly swept foot porch and a little grey-haired lady with a bun and wearing an apron opened the door.  As Gary approached the door, his mother gave him his lunch, complete with a bottle of coca cola!  Lisa and I just stood there smiling and nodding, holding our pathetic sacks of rocks and gravel.

No sooner did Gary get the door open, when both of our sacks burst open from the weight of the rocks, all over the entire doorstep on their home.  At which point, Lisa and I burst into laughter and fell down on top of the rocks, laughing so hard.  Gary was incensed!  "You LIED!  We were going to run away together!!  I told you to pack a lunch!!"

At this point, Gary's mother was starting to catch on. "WHAT?  Running away?  Gary!"

Lisa and I were trying to pick up the rocks, but his mother shoed us all out of there.  You know how that generation has so much patience for messes?  not.

And Gary? Lisa? and I? I'm sure we all fought over it, and made up by the evening bike ride.

Just another one of my crazy memories of growing up the U.P...

I'm half tempted to tell you about the Paper Boy and the snowbank..maybe next time.


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