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I'll Take Yesterday's Evil Over Today's Evil Anytime!

Aug 28, 2008
An evil is stalking the world now that wasn't here when I was a kid. Maybe it's been here all along but as a kid I never saw it lurking near the cotton fields of north Alabama. We knew what the devil was of course, from going to the West Huntsville Baptist Church every Sunday morning and evening, but I don't think it entered our minds to think he was walking down the same road as us.

It's different for boys today. They can't have the same advantages I did growing up because it's just too dangerous leaving them alone! Because something bad and ugly could be behind the next bush, kids are missing out on some of the important steps of growing up.

Sadly, I doubt if my grandsons will ever experience the forbidden thrill of smoking grapevine and pretending it was a cigarette. Except for burning our tongues when we tried to smoke those twigs that we pretended were cigarettes, I can't recall any long lasting harm that was done. Of course we didn't tell our parents, because we would have gotten whomped for even thinking of smoking. That's the experimental stage.

I remember walking home, after spending the day fishing on the creek about a mile from the house. I can still smell the tar that bubbled and cracked on the gravel road as my buddy and I trotted on the shoulder, because the road was too hot for our bare feet. I can't recall catching fish of any size, but being alone without the supervision of adults was an important part of our transition into men.

We can't allow our kids to have that kind of fun today. Sometimes I think my grandkids are overly protected by their parents, but then I hear on the news about some 12 year old boy who was kidnapped, molested and killed just a few miles from where we live and I realize I'm not living in the same world in which I grew up.

Playing hookey from school is a very important part of the growing up process. It gives a young man the opportunity to spread his wings and fly to where he's never gone before! Jesse Haney and I slipped out of the school yard one day long ago, just after math class and went rabbit hunting. This January morning was so cold that anyone with any sense stayed inside. The rabbits must have been smarter than us because we never saw one.

We'd timed our escape perfectly; this particular morning there was a substitute teacher for the next three classes who didn't know us at all. Recognizing an opportunity when it slipped in and whacked us on the head, we were off the school property by the time the bell rang for the next class. We ran over the hill behind the school building, detoured a block to Jesse's house where we grabbed two twenty gauge single-shot shotguns and a half box of shells.

By twelve years of age, most of us boys had shotguns if we wanted them and most of us did. We were taught to not only to respect guns, but to be in awe of them. This was all part of maturing, but if I had shot myself, my mom would have killed me. Few 13 year old kids today are responsible enough not to shoot each other. Besides, a kid with a gun today would probably get arrested, especially if he was hunting during school hours.

Another part of growing up was camping out in the woods across the cotton field in front of our house. During the summer nights we would hear sounds of varmints in the woods near where we were trying to sleep. Besides animals lurking in the dark, we were convinced that there were ghosts and goblins just waiting for us to step out of the tent.

One comforting thing that sustained us during those scary and exciting nights of our youth were orders from our parents that we were to always keep the front porch light in our sight so we could find our way home in the dark. The knowledge that help was within sight, was comforting, even though we would never have admitted it.

The America I stumbled through on my way to adulthood had its own brand of evil, but I don't believe it was nearly as bad as the ones kids face today.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.redfishbob.com
http://www.homeandgardenbob.com
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