When I was a kid in the 60's, coming home from sports on a Wednesday night we had two choices.
1st choice was a short distance between home and the game, but you had to go through a cow pasture where there were sometimes bulls grazing, not to mention a mine field of cow pies. The 2nd choice was probably a mile or just short of it.
To a 10 year old that’s a big difference. That’s energy that can be saved for something else.
So this night we decided to check out choice one. There was Peter, Alan and myself. Peter was my brother and Alan was the next door neighbour.
Peter said to me, ”do you want to make a run for it?”
Me, “No we have to be sure”
Alan ”Do you dare me to?”
Standing up on the gate we were on the look out for any bulls that had been put into the L shaped paddock to graze. Very tall pine trees were just on the L bend so we couldn’t see past it.
A big oak tree in the middle of the paddock with a rotten homemade ladder was a good look out but you had to take a chance and run for it first. If you got there and spotted a bull or two then you crawled along a branch that hung over a grumpy old mans yard, you jumped into the yard and made a run for it. Starting the long journey home all over again.
“Help help “ we heard coming from the oak tree. We looked up and one of the girls from school sat up there pointing below her to a huge bull in wait.
Alan yelled out to her “stay there while I run past, then crawl down the branch. Drop down then make a run for it. The old guy will chase you if he sees you but he’s normally on his porch sleeping. Watch out for his dog!” and he laughed. The old man didn’t have a dog.
Alan turned to us, “ok what am I getting out of this?”
“A half penny” said Peter.
Me, "where did you get money from?”
Peter, ”They played poker at our place on Saturday night when you went to nanas.”
“How much do you have?” well he was rich. He had 3 pennies, 2 half pennies and 2 threepence.
That was a lot of money for a kid back then.
Whenever they played poker at our place the men would drop money out of their pockets and it fell down the back of the couch. If you were lucky enough to have the cleaning duties after them it was yours. Well according to us kids it was.
Alan objected and said some of it should have been his because the poker had started at his house before his mum had kicked them all out and they moved on to our place.
Before he had even stopped complaining he had jumped the fence and made a run for it. The bull turned and gave chase.
The girl from up the tree wandered over to us and climbed out of the paddock on our side. We could hear Alan all the way around the corner screaming in fear.
We all wandered home the long way.
10 minutes down the road and here was Alan waiting for us outside the local Lolly shop. Proudly showing off a good sized tear in the bum of his pants and exposing the cheek of his backside. He had to climb a barbed wire fence because the bull was running toward the gate.
He had ripped his pants in the process.
“Ewww that’s disgusting“ I screamed.
Alan thought he had been cut and started screaming. I laughed and told him it was his bare backside I was disgusted with. We all laughed.
Alan got his half penny, I got lollies, Peter got lollies.
The street lights went on and we all wandered home and got in trouble for letting Alan go through the paddock.
We had a rule, only go in the paddock if only cows were there or it was empty.
I didn’t like to go through it when cows were in there either.
Too many cow pats and you could be sure to stand on one even if you were really careful, and I was scared of the cows anyway.
Before mum and dad divorced and when the cows didn’t graze in the paddock we had to go down there with dad with a sack and the dust pan to collect all the cow pats to put on the garden for manure.
That was a Saturday morning chore. No wonder I don’t like vegetables.
So when we got home we had to tell mum the story because of Alan’s pants.
Mum made me mend Alan’s smelly old pants as punishment. Peter had to buy fish and chips the following day for the whole family when she found out he had some money and where it had come from.
The very next Wednesday we did the same thing again and many more Wednesday’s after that. We just never got caught doing it again.