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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Wet-Go-Round

Life with big brothers can be a lot of fun. The fun can be frequently interrupted by punches, smacks, and a lot of name-calling, but it is all in the name of education.

When Mark and Robin told me, we were going to a special playground, I was excited and a little skeptical. Not wanting to be left out, I followed them. I was five or six so being with my brothers was important. We were soon joined by a couple of other friends and we headed toward the copse of trees that contained The Old Oak Tree, the ancient, petrified, kid dismembering tree of legend. But that wasn't our destination. We ended up at the other end if the copse, right by the chain-link fence that edged the air base. Now I knew we were up to no good. I was all-in!

Regardless, I scaled the fence with the rest of them, being careful to not catch any body parts or clothing, on the twisted wire at the top of the fence. Going home with a fresh scar or tear would raise questions and I never wanted to lie. I did, profusely, but I never wanted to, I just didn't want the punishment more.

Safely on the other side, we all crouched down so the cops, the military police, wouldn't see us if they came by. My heart was beating hard, the blood pounding in my ears. I didn't want to get caught by the cops and have to endure some unknown fate. As young as I was, I had no idea what that might be but I had heard enough stories from my older brothers and their friends to know I wanted no part of that.

We were right beside several large, round brick buildings. I was happy to learn these were our destination. Peaking inside an open door, I saw a gravel floor. There w also two long arms that stretched from the center of the building to just inside the wall, and they were turning in a big circle, spraying water onto the gravel. It kind of stunk in the building but watching the other boys scramble onto the arms as they passed the door, had me waiting my turn the next time one came by.

In a few moments seven or eight kids were riding this merry-go-round, laughing and whooping it up. What fun it was. Until I fell off.

The arm went over me, getting me all wet. I was crying because now I was scared and had scraped myself when I fell. Everyone was yelling, but with their voices echoing around the large chamber, I had no idea what they were saying. Then the other arm came around and knocked me in the head, getting me wetter.

The kids scrambled to get to the end of the arm, so they could jump off, out the door. I wanted to get to that door but the arms were too quick and kept knocking me down.

Eventually my oldest brother, Mark, was there, beside me, telling me to get up now and run to the door. It was hard, crying as i was and scared of being knocked down again. With his encouragement I finally made it to the door and the others help pull me out.

Now we had to assess the damage. Soaking wet, dirty, my pants were torn a bit, a few scrapes, but nothing fatal. We climbed back over the fence and the kids dispersed.

Trudging home we concocted a story to explain my being wet and dirty. We settled on some big kids pushing me into a puddle because I was looking at their bikes.

I don't think Mom believed our story, but she never learned the truth, unless she reads this blog. I am pretty confident the statute of limitations for any punishment has expired.

I found out later that the round building with the merry-go-round was part of the base's water treatment plant. It was raw sewage that had been liberally sprinkled on me.

Even knowing that couldn’t keep me away. After all, I was a brat and an adventure is an adventure, regardless how smelly. I was more careful on future trips there, never again falling off.

I guess the military police, we always called them meatheads, but not to their faces, got wind of what we were up to. On one excursion, they showed up when half of us were over the fence, the other half still waiting our turn. I was still on the good side of the fence, so I didn't get in any trouble but, as I recall, that was our last trip there, but perhaps not. After all, we were a bunch of brats, not easily deterred from an adventure.

And this was a day I treasure because my big brother came to my rescue and both my older brothers helped concoct a story to Mom that was as believable as possible, they had my back. And, there were no swats or smacks. This was a day for a different kind of education.

What kind of things did you and your siblings or friends get up to that you probably shouldn't have?

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