Author: Compton, Cliff

Swimming Trunks
 

I was thinking of that old song. I don’t know why, but I got to remembering…..

You get a line and I’ll get a pole honey…

It was summer in South Prairie Washington, and I was about ten years old. And My cousin Jerry and I had finished our chores on his daddy’s farm, and we went down to do a little swimming in that creek where the periwinkles push their heads through the sand shells and inspire little boys to run a hook through them and use them for bait to catch those big old carp that hide in the tree roots that grew down into the dark waters.

You get a line and I’ll get a pole babe…

All the kids were down there that day. The tough high school boys posing and preening and those scary 13 and fourteen year old girls with the curves and lips and bathing suits. And my cousin Jerry, who always had the devil in his heart, decided to show off for the girls, and as I dived into the water, he grabbed my swim trunks, and came up holding them high above his head, and I in the shock of utter humiliation, surfaced to the cheers of the crowd.

You get a line and I’ll get a pole…

Jerry hung my trunks on the diving board and invited me to retrieve them. I could have done it. I could have leaped like a dolphin, exposing my white skin and semi- private parts to the scrutiny of the giggling multitude. I could have pulled those trunks off of that diving board, and punched my cousin in the nose, and recited every curse word that I had ever heard in elementary school but… shame is the mother of adventure, and I turned my back, and my white rear- end on civilization, and floated on down stream covering my private parts with my hands, and my face with tears, determined, with every fiber of my being, from that very moment, to retreat as far from human habitation as a naked 10 year old could go.

We’ll go fishing in a crawdad hole…

It was peaceful floating down that creek. A little like Huck Finn. I could live on blackberries and thimble berrys, and wild bear. Lot’s of wild bear. And I’d steal a gun from a trapper and someday come back and shoot my cousin Jerry. I’d shoot him good, let me tell you, and steal his swim trunks, and nail them to the front door of the country store, right on the corner of down town South Prairie Washington….And He’d be sorry. They’d all be sorry.

Honey, oh babe, of mine…

Jerry finally came looking for me. I figured I must have floated about 200 miles, or at least fifteen blocks from the swimming hole, and he had my swim trunks. He said “Come on Cliff, let’s go home.”, and I climbed on the handle bars of bike, and he peddled me all the way back to my uncles farm, and I sort of forgave him…at least I didn’t tell my uncle how he left me to the bears and the berries on the far edges of the wilderness. But I knew in my heart that I could have lived out there forever. Out with the bears and the berries. I could have been the stuff of legend. Another Grizzly Adams. Johnny berryseed

 
Posted:  11/11/2011



Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email rickcornish7777@gmail.com.