When my brothers and I were growing up, our neighbors that lived directly behind us were the Edinboros. They had 2 boys just about our ages; If I was 14, Chris Edinboro was 13, Ross Edinboro was 12, and my brother Josh was about 11. During the long Texas summers, out in the middle of the country, the 4 of us were inseparable. All day long we did the kinds of things that boys do; built forts, used our fence like a balance beam, caught snakes, climbed trees, and played kickball in the street.
But at night, if our parents were especially sick of us, and we could be pried away from our marathon Atari Pac-Man sessions, we were sometimes allowed to “camp out” in the Edinboro’s back yard. The Edinboros had a tent, a big family sized one,….but I don’t remember ever actually sleeping in it. We had other things to do on those long nights. Like swimming in the dark. We tied an inverted pickle bucket full of air a few feet above the Edinboro’s pool drain, and used it like a make-shift air tank. Swimming down to the bucket to gulp a breath of pickle-flavored air, vying to see who could “live” underwater the longest. Sometimes we’d sneak over to the Summerlin’s blackberry bush and stealthily pick berries by flashlight. We were quiet, real quiet. Old Man Summerlin was known to fill a dog’s ass full of buckshot for wandering onto his property at night, and none of us wanted that same fate. The night that I remember the most, there was a meteor shower, and the 4 of us lay outside all night on our sleeping bags watching the stars shoot by until the sun came up and we returned to our respective bedrooms to finally get some sleep. I’ve lived a lot of life in the 30 years between that night and now. I’ve taken exotic vacations, treated to meals in fancy restaurants and been to parties with celebrities, but I’m pretty sure that that summer night, lying in the Edinboro’s back yard with Chris and Ross and Josh, watching the meteors was one of the best nights of my life.
We were rarely without things to do.
If only we’d had this book,
The Dangerous Book for Boys…..
But it wasn’t written yet.
The Dangerous Book for Boys, written by Conn and Hal Iggulden for “Boys eight to eighty”, was first published in the UK in 2006…and tweaked for an American audience the following year. It covers around eighty topics, including how to build a treehouse, grow a crystal, make a gocart, speak Navajo (perfect for codes), or tell direction with a wrist watch. Also included are famous quotes, stories, battles, and phrases that “every boy should know”. Critics have praised it for helping to counter the “PlayStation Culture”.
How the navy uses the international alphabet flags.
We lived so far from the city lights that we could have easily seen all these constellations.
How to identify and catch freshwater fish.
Did you know that each pirate had his, or her, own flag? I do now.
Maybe not quite so dangerous……but still are great read.
Y’all can pick up a copy for a boy in your life on Amazon.
…..or even for yourself.