If you’ve grown up in a small town, you know that there are some serious benefits to having spent your formative years roaming safely, freely, and without a care- well, till you were doing something your shouldn’t. Today I share with you some “smoking adventures” in our little town of Friesland.
The DMU certainly had their grip on the “goings ons” in the community. But don’t think the ladies were the only ones with their eye on things. The “old guys” kept a great eye on things as well.
Smoking in the cemetery
I remember one cloudy summer afternoon. I was making my way downstairs and my brother was making his way up. He looked a little sheepish and asked if he could talk with me.
We must have been at least fourth and fifth grade. With me being the eldest, I guess it became my duty to hear the “stairway confessional”. I found a seat on the stairs and he began to “spill his guts” on his recent misadventure.
As he relayed it, I began to conjure up the pictures in my mind. Somehow, someone found some money and had the wise idea they’d go buy a package of cigarettes. At that time cigarettes were about $2.31 a package. CHEAP compared to today’s price. Today’s price pretty much includes your health care costs, along with the program cost to quit smoking in every package. Anyway, back to my story…
So a few of the boys ran down to Friesland Foods and bought a package of cigarettes. Old Tuenis Tillema was working the till that day. He may have been “older than dirt” to us at the time, but he was pretty wise and sneaky. The money was laid down for the cigarettes, Tuenis eyed the group up and surmised that this really wasn’t for someone’s dad, this was for THE GROUP!
Thinking they pulled a fast one, they bolted out the door of the store, hopped on bikes, and drove up to the Friesland water tower and cemetery. They were right next to each other.
“Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – John Wayne
After holding a caucus at the base of the water tower, they decided that was too “out in the open”, and so chose to hide behind some big tombstone to being their smoking adventure.
In the meantime, back at the store, Tuenis had watched out the big store window where these boys were going. Tuenis told one of the other store clerks he was heading out to do some business, grabbed 2 additional packs of cigarettes and some lighters, and headed out. This is where the plot thickens.
Back in the cemetery, there are about five boys huddled behind some poor civil war veterans large tombstone. The cigarette package is open and they are trying to figure out how to go about smoking. Three boys decide to try smoking: Darren, Jason (my brother) and Randy. The rest of the guys were all just there to witness.
As each new smoker attempted to light the cigarette and take their first puff, their lungs met this idea with great resistance. Coughing, sputtering and spitting, they each tried to make a go of this new past-time.
They all were so enthralled with the antics of the three virgin smokers they didn’t see old Tuenis walk upon them. Before they knew it, there stood Tuenis in the middle of the smoking session. “Hello, boys!”
Nobody moved as he took a seat on the little fishing chair he carried with him. He politely told them, that if they wanted to smoke, they were going to smoke like men. Those guys that were just witnesses to the smoking session jump and ran, but Darren, Jason, and Randy all froze.
Smoke’em if ya gott’em
I’m sure Tuenis was very pleased with himself. I can imagine his wrinkled face, with the wrinkles piling up in a large smile, so full of satisfaction, he probably had all he could to do keep from roaring with laughter. Tuenis was about to get the “show” of his afternoon.
Making each boy grab a cigarette, Tuenis gave them all the pointers they needed to start smoking right. The minutes ticked by and soon a regular cloud of smoke was rising from the tombstone. Through spits and sputters he encouraged them on. First one cigarette, then onto the second.
By the end of the second Darren, Jason and Randy began to feel light-headed, a little… nauseated, and smoking wasn’t as cool as they thought it was. But, Tuenis persisted that real men could handle it, so on they went to cigarette number 3. This is where the glamour wore off…
Cliff hanger! Till next time friends… here is to good food, good friends and a good life.
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.