It’s no secret. I was a young redneck child. Part of all good redneck child games involves flirting with death in some form of daily activity. I was a sheltered child from KY at the age of 5 who wore pretty dresses and only got dirty in a controlled manner with a sandbox and trucks, or with a shovel and hoe while helping bring in something from the garden. I was not a “dirty child” until I moved to FL with my cousins. Within one or two years, before age 7 I had been wrestling, gotten dirty with real dirt, bled, been fishing and gotten muddy, strutted about with no shirt on, flown over bike handle bars, played in the mud in a river, made mud pies, hidden under a boat in a lightning storm, eated unripe pears, eaten chestnuts straight from a tree, gotten chestnut burrs in my feet, learned about fire ants the painful way, had my cousin wash his hair with nair, cleaned squirrels, learned about Catawba worms, learned Chinaberry tree switches hurt like the dickens and do draw blood when spanked for waking Uncle Jesse, learned that Catfish can cut a drunk uncle, gotten melted marshmallows in my hair, eaten barbeque chicken, played in junked cars, driven a tractor, driven a pinto into a ditch, gotten impetigo, and learned sooo much more interesting stuff.
This was my first foray into redneck games. I forget what we called it. The object was to climb a tree and then throw a cinderblock at a cousin standing on the ground to see how many you could hit before they climbed the tree and you had to switch places. We had to climb down or have a cousin helper hand up the blocks. I got one cousin on the arm and then it was my turn to switch because his little brother started to climb the tree with a runny nose, gnats on his cuts from the blocks and worm residue around his mouth from the Catawba worms he ate regularly. In a totally UNFAIR move both of them climbed the tree giggling with blocks. On the ground you had to try to get up the tree so I had to wait through the first block throw and try to keep the first brother from getting a block. I moved the blocks to around the back of the trailer so it would take longer to reach them. One brother threw a block and got me in the arm, it scraped off a nice layer of skin, the other brother threw a block, it got me in the knee and slid down. I jerked my foot out from under it and got a nice scrape from the knee down. I was climbing back up the tree with my block when my flip flop slipped and I hit the tricycle on my back while holding the block and rolled kind of down a small rise. My cousins were laughing madly. Grandma heard the merriment and decided it must be stopped at all costs. She took one look at us, whipped us all with Chinaberry switches, patched our wounds, rubbed campho phenique on the youngest one’s snotty nose to keep away impetigo. She made us lunch gave us kool-aid and forced us to stay inside reading the rest of the afternoon. I miss being 6 sometimes.