Fishing rods, baseball caps, and stuffed bears. This might sound to you like I am making a list at a thrift store or local Good Will, but I am not. These three items were the key ingredients for some hilarious, good, clean fun.
It was a crisp fall evening and I could feel some mischief in the air. I certainly was not a naughty kid, but I did like my fair share of mischief. Especially the fun kind of mischief.
Let’s put our heads together
My brother and I walked through the backyard to get to uptown. We found a couple of other kids hanging out and sat down next to them on the steps of Friesland Foods.
We were the kids that didn’t have older siblings in high school, so that meant we didn’t go to the football games. That also meant we had to find something to do.
Tony said he had an idea and would be right back. Tony returned a few minutes later with a fishing pole and a nice baseball hat. Most everyone just stared blankly at a fishing rod ( it was a VERY NICE fishing rod) and the baseball cap. Finally, someone asked Tony what he was going to do with a fishing rod and baseball cap.
Tony glanced around like he was going to reveal a big secret. Then he leaned into the group and said we had to go hide by the Post Office and he would tell us there. That got everyone’s attention. We all were excited at the possibility of what was about to happen next would be dangerous!
One for the money
As we all ran across the road, one by one we slid past the gate and leaned up against the west side of the Post Office. There in the shadows, Tony explained that “he” was going to trick people and “we” were to just watch. Tony began to tie the baseball cap to the fish rod fishing line.
Testing to make sure the baseball cap was secure on the fishing line Tony gave it three good tugs. Pleased with the baseball caps security he stepped from the Post Office shadows and walked carefully to the four corner stop of Main Street and Winnebago.
Pressing in the thumb button on the reel, Tony began letting out the fishing line. Once he had sufficient line out, he laid the baseball cap down in the center of the road and began to walk back towards the rest of the gang waiting in the shadows.
Little by little, he continued to let the fishing line out till he reached the side of the Post Office. Once he was around the gate he gave the signal for us to all crouch down.
Two for the show
It didn’t take too long and we heard a car coming down the hill. Eager to know what was going to happen we all found a place to watch through the gate.
The unassuming baseball cap sat quietly in the middle of the four corner stop. We heard the car stop and then slowly move forward. We were just beginning to catch a glimpse of the car when to our surprise and great delight, the car pulled slowly up to the baseball cap and stopped. Tony told us all to be quiet and pushed in the thumb button and held it.
We all held our breath as the car door opened. We could hear people in the car talking and laughing and then we could see the drivers hand reach out to pick up the hat. Tony gave the fishing line a little jerk, thus setting the baseball cap like it was a big catch. The result? The baseball cap moved enough to scare the pants off the driver.
The driver yelled in fright, slammed the car door and sped off. We were all rolling on the ground laughing as Tony continued to reel in the cap. But now we each wanted a turn to run the fishing pole!
Three to get ready
After some serious negotiations (promised candy, pop, and some Hostess Ding Dongs), Tony would allow us to each hold the fishing rod after we had given him the “promised” item.
Tony was no fool and you had to be on your toes when dealing with him or his brother Andy. Andy was a good wheeler-dealer as well. Sometime I will have to tell you about the time he won someone’s mothers inherited German Cuckoo Clock in a poker game. Let’s just say we all got in a bit of hot water playing poker and the “missing” Cuckoo Clock mysteriously reappeared.
After the first successful “trick” we got smart and added a few extra “insurance” measure. First, we needed someone to be a lookout for traffic. We posted this person at Cliff’s Electric. Once the person with the fishing pole was in place, the lookout would notify us when someone was coming and what direction they were coming from.
Secondly, we needed one more item to tie on the fishing line. It was decided that an old stuffed bear would probably entice more people. A baseball cap was just too guyish.
Four to go
It was Lance’s turn to hold the fishing rod. A Hostess Ding Dong had earned him a turn. With the baseball cap in place, we patiently waited. It took a while for the next car to come along.
The lookout had given the signal and was on a dead run to the groups hiding place. Safely behind the gate we all watched and waited. The car pulled up to the stop sign. Hesitated for a moment and then slowly passed by the cap. SHOOT! They didn’t fall for it. We sent the lookout back and waited again.
The lookout gave the signal but he was waving his hand frantically. He began yelling “The other way! The other way!” we turned to look to our left and sure enough, it was a car coming from the left. We had not planned for any West- East bound traffic. We only planned for North-South bound traffic.
And then the wheels came off
Quickly we became greatly concerned that the car would ride right over the fishing line and possible park on it. We also acknowledged we wouldn’t be able to see someone reach for the baseball cap. RATS!
We hugged the Post office wall and the gate as tight as we could. After the car passed we leaned out to see if we could see someone reaching for the hat and we could NOT! Just then the driver’s door opened and we saw the fishing line move. Quickly Lance sprang into action trying to reel the line in but it was too late. The car door slammed and the driver stepped on the gas and the fishing line began to make a “zzz-ah-zzz-ah-zzz” sound.
Oh no! Lance’s fishing instinct told him to pull back and set the hook. But this Chevy Capri Classic going 30 mph and gaining speed was no match for some 60 lb boy. It only took a matter of seconds before the fishing pole was yanked from Lance’s hand into the air and dragging wildly down Madison street.
What a sight to see! Sparks flying from the fishing rod and the look of shock followed by hilarious laughter from each one of us. Wow! That was terribly fun. But wait… oh no… the fishing rod! The car was now exiting town and as it went over the railroad tracks we hear a “snap” and then silence. Guess the fishing rod met its final fate, snapped from the fishing line.
We gather here today in remembrance
Looking at Tony looking at Lance we detected that somebody was gonna be in trouble. Technically speaking it was Tony’s fishing rod- well Tony’s DADS fishing rod. But Lance was holding it last when it happened. Then again Lance did pay Tony with a Ding Dong to use the fishing rod so permission was granted.
Arguing these points as we all walked down to the tracks to retrieve the now-defunct fishing rod, Tony and Lance worked it out. It was Tony’s fishing rod so he would take the heat.
It took a while before Tony’s dad figured out he was missing a fishing rod. Well, let me correct that. Tony’s dad found the mangled one and put two and two together. Tony took his punishment like a man and soon we were all back downtown on Friday night with fishing rods, baseball caps, and a stuffed bear. Fishing for a whole lot of good clean fun.
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Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.