Firing the Pre-Pubertal Arquebus: A Sociological Treatise, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed remembers a time when kids were pretty left alone…and they survived and even grew up. From Reed at theburningplatform.com:

Today we will ponder America, a country, even a civilization, that existed long ago where the United States is today, but bore little resemblance to it. It will be like studying cave drawings, or Sargon of Akkad. Pay attention. The is original source material of historical importance.

I was there, in America: Athens, Alabama, at age twelve.

Athens was small and Southern, drowsy in summer, kind of comfortable feeling, not much concerned with the outside world. It left the world alone and the world left it alone. In those days, people in a lot of places figured this was pretty workable.

Kids went barefoot. So help me. After about two weeks in spring your feet got tough and you could walk on anything, except maybe gravelly black asphalt that got hotter than the hinges. Parents let you do it. Today I guess it would be a hate crime, and you’d get an ambulance, three squad cars and Child Protective Services all honking and blowing and being important. We didn’t know we  needed protecting. Maybe we didn’t.

It wasn’t like today. When your dog wanted to go out, she did, and went where she thought was a good idea, and nobody cared, and she came back when she thought that was a good idea, and everybody was content. She probably slept on your bed, too.  Today it would  be a health crisis with the ambulance and squad cars. We just didn’t know any better. I don’t remember anybody dying of dog poisoning.

Now, BB guns. We all had one, every kid that was eleven years old. Boy kids, anyway. Mostly they were Red Ryder, for four dollars, but I had a Daisy Eagle, that had a plastic telescopic sight, and was no end uptown. I was always aristocratic. Anyway, you could go into any little corner store and get a pack of BBs for a nickel.

To continue reading: Firing the Pre-Pubertal Arquebus: A Sociological Treatise

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