Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Naked Daydreamer

When I was a not so strapping young lad I spent a lot of time on the banks of the Elk River which flowed behind our house as it coursed its way eventually into the Ohio River.

If I wasn't fishing, gigging for frogs* , or swimming, I could be found lazing on a bed of clover by the riverside daydreaming.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

Not so fast, cricket! I didn't buy your bill of goods then, and I certainly don't believe you now! Try this one on for size.

The Candyman makes everything he bakes
Satisfying and delicious.
Talk about your childhood wishes.
You can even eat the dishes!

That's more like it, choking to death on stoneware!

My daydreams weren't as grandiose as those of other boys my age. Unlike them, I never imagined myself as a fireman or a police officer. I never saw myself riding on the Cisco Kid's horse, Diablo and catching the outlaws. I never wanted to be Skyler King flying through the clouds in the Songbird high above the river. I didn't wish to slash a "Z" in Sgt. Garcia's trousers.

No, my dreams were more practical and down to earth. I never wanted a pair of rose-colored glasses, especially after I found out that those X-ray glasses in the back covers of my comic books didn't work as advertised. Besides, back then I wasn't interested in seeing through girls' clothes. You see, boys my age knew that those "bumps" on the girls' chests were part of the clothes they wore. If they took off their blouses, why they'd have been as flat-chested as us boys. (Imagine my surprise a few years later when we went skinny-dipping and some girls joined us!)
At my own expense, allow me to share a true anecdotal moment regarding those bumps on the girls:

I was in the 4th or 5th grade at the time and our teacher had us each draw the name of a classmate for us to play "Secret Santa." I drew the name of Joanna Schoolcraft. (I'll use her real name in the event she was to read this post someday and for her to share in the innocent embarrassment, because she never knew about the following exchange between myself and my mother.)
Me: Mom, does perfume cost a lot of money?
Mom: Some do. Why do you ask?
Me: I figured that would make a good Secret Santa gift for Joanna.
Mom: Are you sure she's old enough to wear perfume?
Me: Sure. She wears a bra.
(Imagine the look on my mother's face!)
Mom: How do you know that?
Me: Well, they stick out!
I never found out why my mother was laughing so hard until a few years later when some girls joined us skinny-dipping. It wasn't long after that day that my voice began to change and I started daydreaming about girls.
Excuse the digression, but I was writing about my prepubescent daydreams, wasn't I?

On the banks of that river, I daydreamt that one day I would struggle to pay my taxes and a mortgage. I envisioned trying to pay high utility bills. I imagined that I would do without so that my daughter could have. I saw myself paying over $4 for a gallon of gasoline.

Then I dreamt that my desire to write would finally manifest itself on the Internet in the form of a Blog.

Okay cricket, maybe your song wasn't so far off base after all. However, there is that adage that goes something like: "Be careful what you wish for. You might get it."

Funny, I was sitting here reading that last line and thought to myself, "Why not?"

... There I am skinny-dipping ... And here come the girls!

* For a true story about frog gigging, check out The River's Edge, a June '06 posting.



Hale McKay said...

The last time I spoke in person to my mother - (God rest her soul and may she rest in peace.) - she asked me if I remembered the Secret Santa story.

I blushed and nodded and said, "I sure do."

Skunkfeathers said... you, I considered all them flat-chested girls to be carriers of the dreaded childhood disease, cooties.

Then came a Sunday evening in October, 1971: in the basement of my minister's house, the minister's son and some of his gal pals and I were playing spin the bottle. A few kisses later, I discovered that there was absolutely NOTHING WRONG WITH COOTIES...or cuties ;) One of those gals I prolly shoulda married, but at 13, the support system woulda been kinda dicey...

Jack K. said...

What a great posting. It reminds me of some of the mis-information my friends and I shared.

Loved the Secret Santa story.

Your mother was a treasure. Glad you have this memory among all of the others of her.

Thanks for sharing.

kenju said...

I have my own Santa story! and Skunkfeathers was so close to it!

My crush in 5th grade drew my name at Christmas. He called me "Cootie" all the time. When he was filling out the gift card, he asked his mom how to spell cootie and she, knowing what he was up to, said "CUTIE". He put Judy the cutie on it - and was the laughingstock of the 5th grade!

I just saw him at my 50th reunion and told him and his wife the story. He had no memory of it at all - and I still have the card!

P.S. I never swan in Elk River, but I got my head caught in the bridge railings over it. The fire dept. had to rescue me.....LOL

Badabing said...

Now that post brings back some memories...Cisco Kid, Sky King (was that little cutie his niece?), and Zorro. I'm still daydreaming about the skinny dipping...maybe it'll happen yet.

Hale McKay said...


Ah, the infamous and dreaded cooties!

But we were saved by the cuties.

Hale McKay said...


Even though I was at an age of innocence, in hindsight that Secret Santa thing was embarrassing.

Us boys we thought we knew everything, didn't we? But when we started learning about girls, we found we were clueless.

Hale McKay said...


I like your Santa story. A classic payback move.

I wonder if he really didn't remember it, or if just didn't want to admit it.

As for the Elk River, I have a lot memories of adventures and even misadventures on that old waterway. -

Hale McKay said...


Sky King's niece back at the Flying Crown Ranch was named Penny, and she was a cutie.

Somehow, I don't think innocent skinny dipping will ever make a comeback. Alas and alack.

Liquid said...

I just love giggin' for frogs!

Great post.

Hale McKay said...


My kind of gal - one who loves giggin' for frogs.