It was a normal day. The skies were blue, a passing white fluffy cloud floated quietly overhead from time to time. The warm spring wind gave an indication that summer was not far away. It was the kind of spring day that encourage long walks across the pastures, a day for adventure.
I took advantage early, right after breakfast. After grabbing my favorite jacket, plopping on my St. Louis Cardinal cap, I reached for my favorite 22 rifle and flew out the back door. Climbing onto my trusty Moped, I pushed the start peddle, shifted into first gear, gave it gas and I was away for splendid moments of delight. Well, that was until the “wire went pop!”
We’ll get to the wire later, for now, the day is all sunshine. After a fifteen-minute ride. I arrived at my destination, my Uncle Ralph’s farm. My arrival brought a loud greeting from a pack of hounds all wanting my attention. Breaking away from the pack, I climbed the porch steps and announced my arrival as I entered the kitchen door. My Aunt Lois was busy with dinner preparation, Uncle Ralph was already in the field, and the five children were enjoying their no school Saturday. I asked for Paul, my hunting buddy, my companion in all sorts of sportsman adventures. He wasn’t hard to find, in fact, he heard my whiney bike engine as I pulled into the yard and he was coming down the stairs gun in hand.
Paul and I often wandered across a couple of hundred acres in search of things boys find of interest. That could include things like smoking grapevines, rabbit tobacco, and an occasional cigar, Swisher Sweets our choice smoke. But, not today, today would be target practice, the sharpening of shooting skills, the day to drive Black Bart from the territory. Announcing our departure as we stepped onto the porch, away we went, the hounds in close pursuit.
After exploring the woods and checking some old rabbit traps, Paul and I started to walk over to the “old place” but en route, the draw of the IC Railroad tracks became more tempting. Changing plans, we began to walk the five miles of track toward Calvert. Not far into the adventure, we began to shoot at birds perched on the telegraph lines that followed the railroad bed. We were having a great time, laughing, shooting, and missing. Then, a bullet hit a line, popped it in two directions. We were in shock, we looked at each other, then we looked around to make sure nobody was watching, then we took off across the pasture as quickly as the tall grass and briers would allow.
Once in the field, safely away, we fell to the ground concealed by the tall grass. Breathless, our hearts beating out of our chest, we contemplated our fate. Would the railroad find us, would we have a fine, would we go to jail, all options became topics of discussion. In one second, a great day was ruined and we would live the rest of our lives living with guilt. Promising never to tell a soul, Paul and I made a blood promise, our secret. We would not squeal on each other. Until I confessed today, I kept that promise. Now I feel guilty for breaking my oath, maybe worse than the day the wire went pop because I have let the cat out of the bag. Wait, that is another story, how the cat got into the bag. More to come!