Thursday, July 19, 2007

Country fun

What we did last night has caused me to reflect on how small town and country kids learn to entertain themselves.

City kids have malls, skate parks, clubs, all that stuff.

Country kids have fire pits, tractors, wide open spaces, canyons, empty pop bottles and dry ice.

Thats right, I said empty pop bottles and dry ice. Makes a nice loud noise when thrown into water.

We also have Snipe Hunts. I don't care if you city folks have snipe hunts, nothing beats a snipe hunt in the middle of a full section of corn.

For those of you who don't know what a snipe hunt is... well. First of all you pick some young gullible kid, and start talking about what great fun snipe hunting is. Also talk up what tasty eating snipe is.

Then, when they practically beg you to take them with you, you give them a flash light, and a pillow case or burlap sack. You find the biggest corn field out in the middle of nowhere, and you trek to the middle of the field. Bonus points if its irrigated and muddy.

Then you tell them to hunker down somewhere in between the rows, hold the sack open in the next row over, and shine the flash light through the back of the sack. Snipe are attracted to light, you see. Kind of like bugs.

Then you tell them to wait, and you're going to go stake out your own row. Warn them that as soon as they get a snipe they have to twist the sack closed, and beat it against the ground several times. Don't let the snipe sit for long in there or it'll tear its way out, they've got sharp little beaks and they'll tear you up.

Then you wander off and leave them for several hours. Either they'll be hiking their way back to town when you come back for them (the smarter ones, the ones who will recruit new people to go snipe hunting next month) or they'll still be hunkered down in the mud, shivering and patiently waiting for snipe to wander by. Or, if you've taught them some ridiculous "snipe call" they'll be repeating it, over and over again.

Its a rite of passage, sort of like buying your first box of condoms at the drug store. And then listening to your parents lecture you when they find out about it.


Anonymous said...

"City kids have malls, skate parks, clubs, all that stuff."

My brother-in-law's son, who also listens to gangsta rap, stays beat up all the time with those skate boards... anywhere he can; they have one of those half sewer pipe things at their church.

"Thats right, I said empty pop bottles and dry ice. Makes a nice loud noise when thrown into water."

How does that compare with a firecracker like an M-80?

I know something about snipe hunting though, but I never was invited to one and never got to sucker anybody into one. I mostly heard about it from my Granddaddy on Mom's side. Your description and my thinking on this has me laughing pretty good tonight. One variation I've heard of that... while the kid's hunkered down with the flashlight and pillow case and repeating that ridiculous call, the ones that left 'em out there can circle around and slip up on him and throw a skunk in the pillow case. ;D

Oh, and there really is a snipe... this bird lives in coastal marshes. There really are shotgunners who go after them and from what I understand, they're a real challenge to harvest.

Now, this ain't so related to snipe hunting, but my Grandpa (on Daddy's side) and his brothers used to do some pretty outrageous pranks when they were kids in rural central Alabama. They had what they call a "wombat"... that was that buzzin' thing Crocodile Dundee had in the second movie. They also would rig a string in a coffee can and rub some resin into that string. Between those two toys, they could get some erie sound effects going at night and scare people from a ways off. Daddy observed to me once that it's a wonder Grandpa and them didn't get shot out there like that.


Dan O. said...

In the Navy the bootcamp (newbie) sailor gets talked into checking a sprung "sea bat" trap. A bucket upside down on deck which he is told was set with bait and now contains a sea bat under it.

As the new guy approaches and bends over to lift the "trap" everyone yells "SEE" and someone bats him on the ass with a broom.

BTW, snipes are what sailors call the below deck workers working in the machinery rooms of the ship. Me? I was a 'twidget', anyone in the electronic related occupations onboard.

Similar to your snipe hunt, as kids we just didn't bother to look for a certain kid during hide and seek, just to see how long they'd stay hidden.

Drew said...

Ah, I miss the country. BB gun fights, dry ice bombs, snipe hunts, bonfires, all that wonderful stuff. I really need to get out of the damned city/'burbs.

As for the dry ice, a partially full pop bottle works pretty nicely, too...a bit faster and a bit more bang (the carbonation helps speed the expansion).