I feel it’s time for another story from my youth. This story occurred nearly sixty years ago. My brother, two friends and I were playing in the woods next to the Coosa River. Now, all of us had been told not to play near the river by our parents. This, of course, just added to the excitement of exploring near the river. I was eight years old, my brother was ten, and the other two were eight and seven. The seven-year-old needed to be watched all the time. I’ll refer to him as B.M. rather than call him by name.

While exploring the woods, we came across a clump of bamboo plants. My brother Bob had a knife and cut down four of the plants for fishing poles. Since we didn’t have any fishing line or hooks, we decided to sharpen one end of each bamboo stick and make spears instead. Then a decision was made to “go native.” We took off our shirts and pants and stuck leaves and vines in our underwear. We left our shoes on — well, everyone but B.M. Next, we streaked our faces with mud and crept through the woods, which became a jungle to us.

We spotted two black men fishing on the river bank and squatted down behind the brush to spy on them — that is, everyone except B.M., who we had forgotten to watch. Suddenly, we heard B.M. behind us. He was running up the path toward the fishermen shouting a war whoop and waving his spear. Oh, he was also buck naked. B.M. hadn’t seen us or the two black men, but we were all staring at him in the nude. B.M. stopped about fifteen feet from the fishermen, turned and ran back down the trail. The two black men looked at each other and shook their heads. Just another crazy white boy. We ran back to where we left our clothes, put on our pants, held our shirts in one hand and carried our spears in the other hand. B.M. had his shirt tied around his neck, the spear in one hand and his socks and shoes in his other hand.

We charged out of the woods onto the Coosa Country Club golf course. Golf was put on hold as four wild children raced across the lawn yelling and screaming. We ran across the golf course and over to B.M.’s house. Strangely enough, none of the neighbors who saw us were surprised at our appearance. B.M. had lost one sock and his underwear, which he had stuck in his back pocket. We didn’t go back to look for them. I’m sure they made an interesting addition to the golf course.

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