we loved to do most of all was to play war in those willow bushes.
The slender bushes were dense and were taller than we werethey
made a perfect place for hiding, and there were many secluded places
for war camps. And the willow limbs were perfect for spears; all they
required was a little sharpening on one end, but that later proved
to be our undoing.
One day we had opposing war camps of 10 to 15 boys each, all armed
with six-foot long spears. How much fun it was to surprise attack,
raiding each others munition dumps. Until a big boy accidentally
speared a little boy in the wrist, in an arterythere was blood
everywhere. By the time they got the boy to town he was unconscious.
Luckily, he survived, but that put an end to the Red River spear fights.
We shifted to less dangerous activitiespicking cattails along
the Sayre Park Lake, soaking them in kerosene and having torch parades
and torch fights around our houses after dark.
Daddy didnt mind our torch games, and I wonder why. Once, as
a boy, he had played with fire out beyond the sticker patch quite
a way from his house. He would start a little fire, stamp it out with
his bare feet then make a little bigger onehe was literally
playing with fire. The third little fire he started got away from
him and, to his horror threatened to char the whole area. He ran desperately,
barefooted, all the way back home through the sticker patch to alert
his father. After the fire was put out, he remembers that night his
father stayed up late into the night picking the stickers out of his