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"Boys/Men and Their Toys" by Rolly A. Chabot

Updated on December 11, 2012

Welcome Again

Here we are again at the keyboard, closing in on 1:45 am. Unable to sleep and I have to be up and on the go for the day at 6 am. Sound strange or does it sound familiar. Well for me it is far to often familiar. Far to many years of shift work and or grabbing sleep when I could and the end result is a totally messed up internal clock. Have no fear when it catches up I crash and burn for several hours.

RC Rumble our beloved writer here on hub pages left a comment on a hub I wrote yesterday on the medicinal uses of trees. He mentioned as a child recalling climbing in them and playing cowboy. It got me to thinking of my youth and the worlds we created as children to entertain ourselves. I thought I would maybe jot a few of these down.

Gather around, take up a place and I think hot chocolate all around tonight and lets have a few laughs. Please my home is yours, just rest and hopefully I can bring an old childhood memory back for you. Know that you are all dearly loved.


My Toys

You may think I was related to this guy. Well maybe not that far because the used to call me Pyro when I was a kid. I lived on the edge. You see the difference from then to today is we had to use our imaginations. There was never any money for toys when I was a kid. Give me a can and a stick and I could occupy myself for hours.

Then I discovered adventure. The first was an attempt at becoming a downhill skier. Right, no money to buy any so the next best thing is make some. Dads old wooden rain barrel with the wooden staves became the patient. You I see borrowed two boards and sanded then all down on the convex side and polished for hours with moms paste floor wax. Bindings were simple just some rope tied around my feet. Poles came from the neighbours willow tree. (It was a midnight raid... OK)

You see I was one of the kids who never learned to spell the word fear so I had no idea what it even meant. In the small town where I lived we had a railway running through. From the top of the hill to the bottom I would say it was a good 100 yards. "Do you have any idea the amount of speed you can attain on homemade skis slathered in wax." It is something you would have had to try to understand. To put it mildly I would say I discovered SPEED. I might add here I had not a clue about turning. All I know was I was having fun and all my buddies were envious. It was a great day for a few moments anyway.

For those of you who are old as me you would know railway tracks in towns always had large posts and a page wire fence with 6 inch squares. It was 4 feet high on the edge of their property to keep kids away from the tracks. (Ya right) In this case the fence I was careening towards at top speed. I froze and ran face first into the fence. I had four perfect squares across my face. The fence never gave an inch and Dads water barrel ended up having two great looking staves back in place. A downhill skier was not my calling.

The best my dad could do was laugh, mom on the other hand took matters like these a little more serious. I had taken her wax and she discovered this hole in her can of wax. Of course I blamed my kid brother.

First Bike


My Joy

Everyone in town had a bike except for me. All I could do was stand in the hardware store window and stare. (Are you feeling sorry for me) Well you should but wait there was hope.

We as a family had gone to the Mountain Park for a holiday and part of the entertainment was to go to the town dump and watch the bears from the safety of the car. Mom would always pop a great big bowl of popcorn. To us it was like to the movies. That was until I spotted and old bike at the bottom of the dump. It was to become mine. Dad was my hero as he ran down and brought this sad looking thing back up and strapped it to the top of his car. (Trust me the picture above looks like a Cadillac in comparison)

Mine was missing the better part of the seat, one pedal, one tire and the back fender. I rode that thing all over the campground. The front rim grinding in the gravel. I had my bike. Mom and Dad had no fear of losing me, all they needed to do is listen and I could be heard coming.

Once I had it back home I cleaned it all up, saved all winter doing chores for the neighbours and bought a new tire. I was now in stealth mode and SPEED was again king. Then I discovered with a little ingenuity I could slip the gas powered motor off my moms wringer washer into a mounting bracket I had made and with a belt and few pulleys I had a motorcycle of sorts, my first. It was a simple design. Once the engine dropped it was direct drive. with no brakes just a wire running from the throttle wrapped around the handle bars. The inaugural run was from the hotel on the corner to the end of main street. Of course I had an admiring crowd.

Do you have any idea how fast a 52 pound kid can go on a bicycle with a 5 horse power motor. I was going for the land speed record in our small town. That was until someone opened the screen door on my Dads Pool Hall and Barbershop. The good news is I never went down and did earned the speed record for our town. My dads door was in tatters and so was my backside from his razor strap.

The lesson in life is parents keep and eye on your children at all times. Children always wear a catalog on your backside. Life can be full of little surprises when we fail to plan ahead. Good planning and insight can make the outcome more favorable. By the way the only way to stop the bike was to jump off before I ran into the slough at the end of main street. Both the bike and the motor got a good bath that day.

The motor was off limits from that day forward.

29 Ford Whipped


First Car

The first car I ever owned was a 29 Ford Whippet and it was a sad looking thing compared to this one. I worked all summer long for a farmer to be able to drive it home at the age of 14. Once I got it home my parents made me take the two back wheels off so I could not be tempted to drive it. Those were the days when accountable and a good tanning of you backside walked hand in hand.

The next two years were devoted to fixing up the prize I had. I do think there was a thing on that car that I had not taken apart to see how it was put together. It ran lie a top and a can of black paint and a brush and it was transformed. One of Dads customers came along and gave me 100 dollars and I was a happy kid. My folks were able sleep again as the farmer drove his new toy home.

First Hot Rod


36 Ford Coupe

Same car but not mine. By the time I was 16 I had learned a fair amount about mechanics and built a car very similar to this one. I placed a 327 cubic inch engine in and changed out the rear end, drive shaft and raised the back end. I worked at the local garage and other summer jobs to pay for all the parts and get my drivers licence. The same day I got it I got my first speeding ticket.

One of those other lessons in life we need to learn about accountability. I can laugh now but let me tell you then it was an expensive lesson.

32 Ford Coupe 5 Window B Model


Yet Another

Not mine, just a picture of one similar. I think of all the cars I have played with over the years this without a doubt was a favorite. I had gotten into the oil field and was making good money and spent the better part of it building one like this.

For the car buff I slipped in a fuel injected, blue printed 454 cubic inch engine in. It had been all potted and polished with a 3/4 racing cam. All the body work and upholstery I had done at a custom shop and had it painted in a candy apple red with seven coats of paint. Depending on the sun it would change colours.

I drove it for three years and it was the street king in the city. Well at least till I outran the police. The end result was they pulled the registration after i was caught and it was banned from being driven on the road. They classified it as a dragster. Who would have guessed... right.



I guess things have changed along with the toys. Chances were taken and the rebel eventually went full circle. By the age of forty I got a little crazy, motorcycles, skydiving, scuba diving and walking that thin line again. Now I can sit back and just smile watching the world pass by. Have I had fun, you bet and I survived. Do I drive this kind of vehicle today. Maybe I should but alas I drive a Chevrolet Silverado truck, I like to call it a sleeper. It looks like a ordinary truck from the outside but the big block that hides under to hood still stirs the youth in me every once in a while as I watch the gas gauge drop. "Men keep the kid alive in you."

I have several reminders of my youthful past. Some aching bones, a few scars and many fond memories. The best I have are three things Dad gave me one Christmas a few years before he passed away. The first I will always be grateful for, his gift of a sense of humour and his kind yet stern discipline.

The next would have to be the card he gave me that year. A card filled with many awesome words of love and affirmation of his prayers of protection he prayed over me for years. With a note that said "Well Deserved."

The third well the picture below says it all. The same razor strap which I learned had a pretty good bite to it. Today it hangs on a nail in my studio. I can still see my dad standing with tears in his eyes after using it on me. My thoughts today. "Yes Dad well deserved."

© Rolly A. Chabot 2012



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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Thanks Christy... good to find you here and have a great weekend yourself... stay warm...

      Hugs from Alberta

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Stopping by for another read and wishing you a good weekend, my kind friend.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Brett... thanks for the comment and yes things have certainly changed over the years. I was glad to be raised in the era I was... many good lessons learned.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Great hub, although a lot younger, I can relate to most of these things. Thankfully we lived in a quieter, less modern part of the country (completely changed now). I also had the pleasure of travel and the madness that you experience along the way. Loved the line "Children, always wear a catalog on your backside"! lol

      Shared, up, awesome, pinned and tweeted.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Eddy... Thanks for stopping around and saying hello and the share... hope al is well with you and yours...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant share and thank you so very much .

      I vote across/up and share all around


    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Melovy... You only live once was the way I thought back then... it was a fun time... smiles... thanks for the visit.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi RC... we should have grown up in the same town... lol... I could have let you try out my miracle skis and other toys... man we could have traded...

      Hugs to you RC

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Christy... good to see you drop in as always... I did have fun indeed with the toys. Funny I was just looking at my garage again today and thinking maybe one more toy.... PT Cruiser with a large engine and the roof cut down and the back end raised... Hmmmm... lol

      The editing is slow, I have been in and out of town and should be around the next few weeks so I do think I can make some headway.

      Hugs from Alberta

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi drbj ... Thank you for the comment. My parents did not really approve with the first one but after it I became hooked. I do see the odd one around this area and they are a pleasure to visit at the car shows.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      This was interesting. You certainly enjoyed speed and had plenty of ingenuity as a child!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Rolly - Thank you so much for mentioning me in your hub! You have got me thinking about many of the same things we did as youngsters. I've been thinking of the times we would roll in the hay field to mash down the hay and create forts. I made a soap box derby racer that traveled remarkable speeds, but found it almost impossible to stop since a brake had not been in my plans. Our bikes were similar, as mine had monster balloon tires, also. And, my first car was a '63 Ford Falcon with a three speed on the column, that was not sychronized in the least. What fun we had, and lessons we learned. Great job, my friend!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Louisa Rogers... Thanks for the comment and the visit. The Razor Strap was not a daily occurrence and poor Dad would have tears running down his face. It was a part of life and trust me it never hurt any of us emotionally. If nothing else it taught respect...

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lifegate.... lol... or never lived to be here... man did those things go. I should have built them with brakes... smiles


    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Break of Dawn... so special to see you again and read your comment. Did God smile and chuckle... lol... not sure but I had a good time and many people got a laugh at my own silly expense.

      Today I have mellowed somewhat (Wink) but yes I still see a boy in the mirror occasionally.

      Learning is a life long process. I love to study and over the years have taken many courses to gain knowledge. At 45 I went back to college. Now that is a whole other story... lol

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Carol... smiles... sounds like we were born on the same side of the tracks... work, design, build, sell and start all over again... A real blast. Been thinking of building another this past while... of course it would need a computer for fast access to the net... and it would have to fuel efficient and go like stink... lol

      Hugs from Canada

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Wow Rolly, those cars you had were pretty neat! Good writer you are. How goes the editing process for your novel(s)?

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Rolly, I enjoyed your retelling of some of those feats of speed and daring when you were a youngster, and your taste in ancient flivver/toys is impeccable. You did deserve the award of Street King.

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 5 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Yes, boys do love their toys! I feel sad about the razor strap, but it sounds like you are in a place of acceptance about it.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      I think you missed your calling. You should have tried out for the Olympic team. I bet you would have won the gold in the downhill with those spiffy skies!

    • Break of Dawn profile image

      Break of Dawn 5 years ago

      Oh my, what an ingenious and adventurous child you were, my friend. However, I have a feeling you still are! God gave us brain to use, absorb, learn and grow, and God gave us courage to do whatever we can, as you with no doubt has proofed many times over. I truly enjoyed reading about your risky and innovative undertakings as a young boy. It brought me some wonderful chuckles and I'm sure you gave God joy, pleasure, and some chuckles too at the time, lol.

      Hugs from a cold and snowy Sweden!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I love all your toys, but I am impressed with your attitude. Fixing up and making things yourself instead of having your hand out to buy. I learned at an early age that if I wanted something I had to figure a way out how to get it. I wanted more clothes so I bought a sewing machine and make them. It is about expectation in life and work ethic. Love all your stuff here. Voted UP.++++Not to mention that parents disciplined their kids.


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