My Brother's Adventure Broke my Legs

Risky Stuff

I was not always the careful concientious grandpa you see today. And for those of you who really see something different, kindly mind your own business. I do not wish to reveal to the world that although I am in my 60's my mind is still straggling behind in the late teens. It is both a curse and a blessing and as my father observed some time ago, its a pitty that youth is wasted on the young. Now I know what he means. And for the first time I like that movie, can't remember the name, but it is about a person who is born old and gets younger as he ages. I want that for about 20 years!


In the care free days of my youth, I'm still talking about the 7 year old boy, I tried a lot of risky stuff. It is only by the grace of the all mighty and a few soundly landed whacks that I avoided a life of crime and subterfuge.

Coke Machine

Most of my ne'er-do-wells were the fault of my brother, Butch. He was either the reason that I did the dirty deed in the first place, or the only reason I got caught. It was his fault I got caught smoking cigars, it was his fault that I got caught in a lie, and usually it was his fault that I got caught stealing, I should say, borrowing. Okay, it was stealing but it wasn't stealing for pleasure. I would only steal when I was in desperate need of something that I could not get in a conventional way. Maybe cigarettes and Nehi and Coca Cola are not really desperate needs, but to a hayseed like me, it was the simple pleasures that motivated me.


I liked the old days when the gas stations were actually “Service Stations” and the Coke Machines sat outside in front. You know the kind where the bottles are stacked up all in a row top to bottom of the machine. All you had to do was put your nickle in, open the door, and pull one of those frosty cold sodas out of the machine. Oh man, life's little pleasures. 'course, if there was no nickle, a boy needed to be clever and figure a way to outsmart the machine. That's why most kids carried church keys with them at all times. You never knew when you might need a church key and they worked equally well with the old stacked bottle machines and the cold water bath machines, you know the ones where the bottles of soda were kept cold in a cooler of water. Both of those machines could easily be defeated through the use of a church key and straw. All you had to do is reach in and pop the top off of your favorite soda and quickly stick the straw in and drink as fast as you could. Then the other brother or pal could go in for a quick drink and then both of you could high tail it out of there full of soda and with a a darn good laugh.


Country Church
Country Church

Goin to Church

The trouble with that kind of thinking is that you cannot commit crimes without following them up with a couple of lies. Now on Sunday, we learnt that both of those are sins and that our souls were in jeopardy. Fortunately, I knew a couple of stories about the preacher that showed me a way of escaping sin. He was a sinner too and he was forgiven every Sunday. I figured early on that was the way to go. I never missed a Sunday goin' to church for a long time because I needed redemption for the week's deeds. I knew why people felt so much better after goin' to church 'cuz I too felt much better and lighter and forgiven and loved. There existed a second bonus to this scheme, too. Mom would brag to her friends and my grand mother about how I never would miss church and how I might be a preacher some day. At the time I thought that I couldn't drink and gamble enough to really be a preacher but I never took that fantasy away from my mother.

Freckle Faced Brothers
Freckle Faced Brothers

Freckle Faced Trouble Makers

Summertime is like a magic time to a couple of trouble makin' freckle faced boys who are lookin' for nothin but trouble. Well this summer was no exception and was turning out to be the best of times. My brother took me places a 7 year old had no business goin'. Come to think of it, neither did an 8 year old. But there we were doing it. Exploring woods that no other human had ever seen. High jinxing the neighbor's cows and stealing milk right from the source, and borrowing things to make a fine campsite in the woods.


When we weren't at the creek capturing water dogs in an old tea kettle, or fishing, or swimming, we were making mischief along the pasture or behind the house or jumping off of stumps or digging tunnels into the hillside.

Grand Old Cottonwood Tree
Grand Old Cottonwood Tree
CottonWood Tree
CottonWood Tree

Crawling Out the Window Climbing that Cottonwood Tree

One of the things that we liked to do all the time is crawl out of the bedroom window and climb up the old cottonwood tree. We were lucky indeed to have one just outside our bedroom window. It was so perfect. We climbed out that window practically every single morning during the summer and climbed on up to the top branches. We could then swing back and forth and drop on the roof. Now you did have to be careful and mind the amount of noise you made because for some reason mom did not want us dropping on the roof. So you had to be quiet if you wanted to spend any quality time up there.


Getting down off the roof was the challenge. Butch had a little on my reach and could grab just that much farther and he could reach round the cornice and swing down to the window ledge where holding onto the cottonwood and the window frame he was able to somehow grasp the window ledge and prise himself in. I, on the other hand, could never accomplish this task without assistance. For me, it took a leap of faith, and a good hold on the cottonwood and a snatch from my older brother and I could land in a place where I could also be prised into the window opening as well. The whole plan resulted in disaster only a couple of times. Fortunately, we had stacked some boxes and other stuff below to break our fall if it came to that.

Cat in a Tree
Cat in a Tree

Cat Stuck in a Tree

We had pulled this trick dozens of times. Never one time when we were climbing up the house, did we think about how to get down. We just always did. And It always worked out. I cannot tell you how many times we passed beyond the point of no return in our lives and never once died. We got close a couple of times, but we survived. I can still remember that day as if it were yesterday. In a way it was. I got up on the roof of the house and we did the usual scaring birds and such. But when it came time to get off the roof, I lost my nerve. I have no idea why. Isn't that simple? Something I had done at least a hundred times, I suddenly could not do.


I was like a cat in a tree, no problem getting up there and no amount of coaxing could bring me down. Even that darned cottonwood seemed somehow that day to have a frightful appearance. Thinking back, I can only think of that tree as a black and white tree. Odd isn't it?

Arms wide open!

Anyway there were not very many options open to us. Butch told me to go around to the other end of the house and he would come around and we would think of something to do. I fearfully scooted to the other end of the house and waited for Butch. He did come around but I did not like his solution. It was to jump. He assured me that he would catch me. “Jump, jump, I will catch you.” He called. It took nerves of steel and I had to close my eyes, but eventually I did jump into what I thought were his open arms. Him down there on the ground reaching for me, promising that he would catch me. And me flying through the air. I landed on the ground, Butch had miscalculated the trajectory and was about 20 feet too far from the house. I was exhilarated, I had escaped death. I was however, a bit sore.


I had broken both legs. Can you believe it? Both legs! I was young and so was able to heal rapidly. But for about a month I had two legs in casts and the doctor not wanting me to heal in a crooked way, fastened my feet to a bar a little more than shoulder width and that is how I stayed for at least the next month. I had to be carried everywhere. I was 7 years old and had to be carried to the bathroom.

I Still Trust my Brother!

I never lost my trust in my brother. I think that is surprising. But to this day, the last thing I want to hear is someone calling, “Jump, jump, you can do it.” And that explains why a few years ago, I did not go bungie jumping, or skydiving. If I want to jump, I will. But no amount of coaxing is gonna get me to do it when it is not my idea.

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Comments 31 comments

Sue 6 years ago

Wow! Great story!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Thanks Sue I appreciate you reading the story and leaving the comment. This was a fun one to write.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

OH my! Steve - you did have your escapades! I can just vividly imagine them all. The service stations which really gave service! Those really are bygone days.

And when it comes to the leg - I broke one of mine at 7 in another kind of kid-prank. (Jumped in an 8 or 10 foot hole my mistake - long story)

My bones were so fragile, though, my leg was shattered in several places, plus bent. The doctors told my parents I'd never walk again but Mother was too determined to accept it. She took me to a chiropractor and he taught her how to massage and put pressure on my leg to straighten it. It was also in a cast at some time, I think before the pronouoncement I wouldn't walk. The pressure involved her putting her weight on it against the floor regularly and pressing as hard as possible. It was excruciating - probably why I can't remember the exact sequence. But my leg is straight and I've been walking - - strongly - - ever since.

You were lucky to heal fast - but I can imagine how horrid it was to be confined like that, at 7. Kids don't take kindly to being unable to run and play! Believe me, I know! There are so many incidents involved with my relative confinement with the leg - but you had them BOTH in casts, plus that contraption to keep them rigid!! WOW!

Now, though - you're just a kiddo now! 60? - Not a bit old! I'm surely not!!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Nellieannna, you have to cut back on your comments, you must be spending most of your day writing them. Thank you for taking so much time in commenting. It seems that one can really count on you to provide a good side story to every hub. You are pretty great. Oh by the way, did you like this hub? LOL


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Great, but painful story. Two broken legs sounds awful. No bungee jumping for you!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Breakfastpop, Thanks for coming by, I appreciate it and the time it takes. I know you have a lot of followers who love every word you say, so anyway thanks......and you are right about the bungee jumping.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 6 years ago

Enjoyed this story and I'm still here to say I swung from a Pepper tree singing "a flying girl on a flying trapeze" and landed on my Dads car. The pepper tree stayed but Dad moved his car.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Ginn Navarre Thanks for stopping by and reading my hub, lol. I think I would have liked swining from a pepper tree, too.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Loved this story of childhood days. Spent many of my early childhood days up in trees! Fortunately neither of my brothers or I ever broke anything despite some mishaps.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Thanks for the comment Peggy W, I can tell you that it is with an amusing and appreciative point of view that I remember the times spent in trees. I hope all children can spend some time in the trees and chasing butterflies and such.


Tkumah profile image

Tkumah 6 years ago

I found it interesting that you remembered black and white vision. Is it a real memory literally or a way to sum up the overall feelings of that fear?

Beautifully written and a joy to read. So true about older siblings.....


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

It is a real memory....but oh so appropriate don't you think Tkumah? It was a fun to write and I am experimenting to some extent with childhood memories and so forth. I hope that these do well because they are fun to write and I would like to keep working on them. My next hub is on food though, so there will be a small break. Thanks for the comment and for reading my hubs.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Enjoyed your story tremendously, Steve, glad you didn't land on your head. But tell me, why is that implement called a church key? Guess my education is sadly lacking in that department.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Thank you drbj! Well, it is kind of an old fashioned bottle opener, if it were solid, it would look like the key that is used to throw the lock in a massive door, like the door on a church, thus, church key. It is kind of a sacrilege and funny, but it has always been called a church key. The one I pictured is the plainest one, there are lots of other examples that are ornate and decorative.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Childhood reminiscences make such delightful tales! :)


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Thanks for the comment Feline Prophet, I have enjoyed writing these and have a few more.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

What wonderful memories to be sure! Aren't memories of childhood great - broken legs and all? I broke my arm falling off a tree when I was 7 and was so proud to be the only one that year in a cast that everyone could doodle on!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Shalini Kagal, isn't that the truth? I later broke one of my legs again and loved telling the story the rest of my life about how I broke both of my legs once and one of my legs twice. Thanks for the comment and for reading my hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

It is so interesting that you lost your nerve on that day, when you had never given coming down off the roof a thought a hundred other times. As you continue with exploring your childhood memories, perhaps a clue will reveal itself.

It was a joy to follow you into the past through your words. Thanks for a very pleasant journey.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Sally's Trove Thanks for the comment and for reading my hub. I know, that was the weird thing, and that has happened to me a few other times. I think you are right, this may end up being more of a journey than I had planned.


Lord Gaga 6 years ago

What astonishes me (also in my 60s) is how much detail you can remember about being a kid; or do you find that once you start writing it down, stuff you'd forgotten for half a century starts popping up; and is there by any chance a downside, like forgetting what you had been planning to do five minutes ago even though you can remember what you were doing in 1958?


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Lord Gaga Thanks for reading my hub. I am astonished at what I can remember, and then ask myself, did that really happen that way? I wish I could remember more....there was a lot of stuff that happened. Thanks for your humorous remarks.


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

It seems that you had great moments with your brother. Not only your being naughty, you also told us honesty and creativity while you were a kid. A nice and amusing story !


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

agusfanani Thanks for the comment, I don't know if these stories will do much for me, but they are really fun to do. I have so many of them, that I just have to write one when I remember it. Thanks for the nice words.


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 6 years ago from Aurora

Ouch! I also followed my older sister in some misadventures...give me some ideas for hubs of my own. Thx!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Laura in Denver misadventures is right, but adventures has much higher keyword value. LOL Look forward to reading some of your 'adventures'.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

Another great story. This is the kind of stuff I like. The way you describe how to "borrow" sodas by implementing a church key, and the way you relate how you climbed out of the window and onto the cottonwood tree, really transports me to a childhood I've never personally known, but I feel privileged to experience. You've captured the romance of adventurous childhood awesomely.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Benny It does my heart good to hear such words. Thank you, I appreciate it. But more importantly, you are reading my stuff. It means a lot to me. BTW these hubs are the fun ones to write, they may not earn much, but they should!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

Now this is an adventure! Maybe I should start traveling with your brother! :)


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

Steve - What a wonderful story! Gawd, it was fun back then wasn't it? Life was so simple, the only thing you had to worry about was getting yelled at for getting grass stains on your 'good' clothes that you forgot to change out of!

In answer to your question/request at the beginning... "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".

Great memories!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Sweetsusieg Thanks for the information...sort of a 'poetic' question. It made you think. Glad you enjoyed it.

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