I grew up in a small town ... REALLY SMALL. There were about 1,600 people. The good thing about small towns is that everyone knows you. That can also be the bad thing!
As a small boy, I remember when we still had phones without dials (much less buttons). You simply picked up the receiver and waited for the operator to say, "Number please."
But for a long time, the number was just a formality. Everyone knew you could just tell the operator who you wanted to talk to. I can even remember picking up the phone and saying, with a distinct Southern twang, "I want to talk to my daddy." And guess what ... I was immediately connected. I knew the phone number for my dad's drug store was '13,' but it seemed silly to have to use a number.
That was one of the good things about everyone knowing you.
I also remember teasing our local sheriff saying, "You can't catch us." He drove a Volkswagen Beetle for goodness sakes!
But he would counter with the undeniable truth. "I don't have to. I'll be waiting in your driveway when you get home." Obviously, one of the bad things about everyone knowing you.
Of course, back then our idea of mischief was pretty tame by today's standards. Which brings me to water balloons.
There's always been something fascinating about those jiggly, translucent, often fragile orbs. And they comprised the upper limits of my mischievousness during my adolescent years. I can remember the excitement ... the down right exhilaration .... as my friends and I huddled in the Chinaberry thicket next to my house, waiting for the next unsuspecting car to pass and be subjected to our onslaught ... our multi-colored liquid grenades exploding against window glass.
Unfortunately, we never considered the possibility of Mr. Franks, our very strict, Icabod Crane of a science teacher, driving by with ... of all things ... his car windows rolled down. He was soaked, and we were sure our lives, as we knew them, were over.
So today, whenever our Technology Department has one of our annual water-balloon volleyball competitions, I can't help but think we're all going to be in big trouble any minute.
And what is water-balloon volleyball, you might ask? Well, the only way it resembles regular volleyball is that you play using a volleyball net. Pairs of players try to throw and catch the water balloons from one side of the net to the other using a beach towel and, as you might guess, if the balloon breaks, not only do you get wet, the other team gets a point. Pure fun!