Anyway, we met just inside the woods, on the outskirts of my grandparent’s house. As I was standing there, I saw my grand pap feeding his hunting dogs....one, a sleek bluetick....the other, a black and white spaniel; a cocker I believe. I remember like yesterday how he fed Ol’ Dad’s dry feed with a can of Kennel Ration, in the dark blue can. You could set your watch by Pap’s feeding of the dogs. It never varied a minute each and ever morning of my childhood. Anyway, I was watching him feed the dogs as the last of my fiends pulled up on his bike, fishing rod in hand. “Did anyone bring smokes?” I ask... Willy frowned shaking his head...as Jon muttered something about how his Mom had taken her unfiltered Pall Mall’s when she left the room, unlike usual, where she kept them on the shelf always. I mentioned that she was probably starting to miss them, since he was removing more and more daily. Ed and Dennis just stood there as they always did....saying nothing. Dave...however, had a big smile on his face as he produced a full...unopened pack of Pall Mall from his waistband of his blue jeans. He said his brother Jim had a partial carton in his room and this pack was ripe for the picking since there were about seven packs left in the carton.....the ultimate number for lifting a pack and remaining undetected. I likewise smiled as I produced a pack of Winston cigarettes from my rear pocket. Dave even had a great Zippo lighter, which always impressed the heck out of me. I however impressed all of them when I produced several Swisher Sweet cigars and was able to smoke them without watery eyes or chocking on inhaled smoke....
After all, I had smoked several in my Dad’s presence after being caught with cigarettes. It was Dad’s ultimate punishment...”Okay big shot”, he would say, “You wanna smoke??? Smoke one of these...Go on big shot...smoke it all...take your time and enjoy it...Sit her beside me!”
I gotta admit, it was harsh and cruel the first time around, and then...it got easier and even enjoyable, when you got past the pain in the butt of pretending to have watery eyes and being sick. Pretending it was terrible actually made sure it remained his first defense in punishment. One day as he was gloating about his punishment, Mom said, “Hey Jim...You know this happens an awful lot for a boy that hates these cigars and gets so sick smoking them....I’ve been watching him and when you say okay, that’s enough, he merrily trots off to parts unknown....probably to smoke another cigar!”
Curses......caught by the warden herself! You could never fool Mom.....unless she wanted you to....AND, you better not...especially if she wanted you to. Many times I was sent to the Forsythia bush to cut a switch which would tan my own hide for something I had done. Now...THAT’S cruel and unusual punishment. If I brought one too skinny or too fat, I was sent back to do a better job of selecting the subtle, springy little whip that would blister my ass cheeks as retribution for my endeavors outside her liking! When my friends were abruptly told to go home because I had a private job to do.....I would begin to quake in m y shoes, knowing what was coming.....even if I didn’t know why until the punishment was to take place.
Anyway, we were in no mans land...outside her bailiwick, with friends, rods and smokes....on our way to a fishing trip and would return later in the day....No one would know we had smoked a bunch of cigarettes when we got home....they never did! (They must have thought we smelled of smoke from being in my friends houses, sitting on their furniture, because I’m sure we reeked of tobacco after knowing what I do now)
My, the things we did...Never caught more than a fish or to all day too!
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