Not so Funny Fun (WW Blog #200)

I loved to go ‘on-the-job’ with my Dad. I had been going every once in a while on Saturdays and we would take a sack lunch and he would give me jobs like “Water Boy” or more nails and such. I was probably around eleven when I played a prank that curtailed my visits to the job.  He and his crew were remodeling a house and in those days, walls were covered with paper. To hang wallpaper correctly took some skill, so Daddy always called Eddie Drew to do the job. Eddie was a neat guy and a deacon in his colored Baptist Church. He went about humming hymns as he worked. The process of ‘papering a wall’ comprised of heavy paste over cheese cloth upon which the paper was attached using a squeegee-type tool. Eddie would pile the cheesecloth in the center of the room, in easy reach.  I had some time on my hand, so I thought how funny it would be to play a prank on Eddie by crawling under the cheesecloth pile and jumping up and saying “Boo” when he reached for his next batch. He did and I did and all heck broke loose. That man jumped back, threw his paste-loaded application tool and took off yelling. He was so frightened that he took out a newly installed window, sash and all. Needless to say, master James Austin was immediately taken home. My Daddy was fit to be tied. It took him the better part of an hour to calm Eddie down, apologizing profusely. Fortunately he came through the whole thing with a few scratches. It was years later when I was allowed to ‘go-to-the-job’ with my Dad. Eddie would always asked if “mister Jimmy is gonna be there?” before agreeing to do another job. The whole happening made me much more cognizant of the consequences of playing pranks. That lasted until, at the age of sixteen when Charles Henry Meyer, Webber Beall, Roland Bridges, Harris Green and I decided to ‘scare’ a neighbor boy who was still sleeping in a baby bad at the age of ten. We were “camping out” in Charlie’s back yard and around ten o’clock, decided to go ‘scare Kenny’. It was summer and his bedroom window was always open, so we knew it would be easy and great sport. Between his house and Charlie’s, lived Sue Gilpin. That same night she and four girl-friends were having a slumber party, so on the way to our visit to Kenny, we decided to take some catalpa beans and run them around the outside of the Gilpin’s house. It sounded like machine guns going off and the result was tumult. We ran and hid until Sue’s father gave up looking for the ‘culprits’.  We then continued our mission to Kenny’s window. We snuck up and all stood just outside his window, watching him soundly sleeping. All together, we called, “Hey, Kenny!”  Kenny didn’t disappoint us. His screams woke the neighbors and his father ran from his bedroom into the hall, hit a throw rug, lost his balance and made a pratt-fall slide all the way to Kenny’s bedroom door. We had already made it half-way back to our ‘campsite’ ahead of pursuit. Crawling into our bedrolls, we were enjoying our exploit in quiet glee, until rousted by a Mount Pleasant Police Officer called to take care of the ‘public disturbance’. We were each ‘escorted’ to our homes in a police car and, again the consequences far exceeded our success.  It was a long time before I had privilege to hang out after dark with my buddies. Looking back, it was a miracle that we didn’t celebrate over-night in jail. “Playing pranks” lost its luster…until my Freshman year In college, but that’s another story.

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