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My Brother and I have a Run Away Adventure: 1st Family Vacation

Updated on September 11, 2010

Family Riches

I grew up in a family rich in every possible way, except for money. I had eight brothers and sisters, a mom and dad, grandparents not too far away, and a simpler life style. We did not walk five miles to school everyday. But we did walk about a mile to the bus stop, which gave us every opportunity to skip school, which we did quite often, I might add. However, that is a story for another time.

No-Good Deeds

My mother had her hands full with 5 boys and 4 girls to look after. So much so, that she would allow us to play outdoors all day long. This was excellent for us boys. All we needed was a couple chunks of homemade bread and whatever else we could grab and head for the hills. I have a brother that has gotten me into a lot of fixes in my life. Don't worry I always got him back. He is close in age to me about a year and a half older than me. Just enough older to sucker me into a bunch of no-good deeds.

Couple of chunks of bread
Couple of chunks of bread

Let's Run Away Today

One day we got up and he said, “Let's run away today.” Of course, not knowing what that meant, I thought it was the best of ideas and I never passed up an opportunity for adventure. We got our shoes on and stuffed a pillowcase with grub and other runnin away stuff. Butch, as we call him, got a stick and tied the pillowcase to the end of it so that we could carry the bundle proper-like, over the shoulder. The bundle actually amounted to a couple chunks of bread and a cucumber and an apple, we could drink out of the creek. We did manage to get our fill of water out of the hose before we left.

So we started off on our journey and headed down by the creek. I don't think we even told our mom where we were going, we just left. Now nothing against mom, but remember this was different times and we spent the whole day outdoors anyway. My mom was not one to panic, not at least until dinner time.

Welcoming Tree
Welcoming Tree

Beyond where we had gone before!

At the time we lived in the country, had neighbors a couple of miles away and a highway about a mile through the woods. We lived on about 20 acres and raised some animals and worked a garden. The drive wound down through the woods and was spooky. So running away consisted of cutting through the woods to a point beyond where we had previously gone.

This was exciting and by the time the sun was winking through the trees, I was starting to get tired and hungry. So we climbed a tree. This is where Butch said we needed to be since it would be best to keep a look out. It was a huge maple tree with its arms outstretched and we found a nice little perch resting between a couple of arms and ate our cucumber and one of the chunks of bread. That seemed like one of the best meals I had in a long time. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a Nehi Orange. Anyway the yeasty taste of the homemade bread and the crunch and cool of the cucumber was heaven. I think I fell asleep for a spell. When I woke, Butch was peeing off the tree. Of course, I wanted to do that, too. After we rested we continued on our adventure.

Little House
Little House
Sailing Vessel
Sailing Vessel

We needed a boat!

It seemed like we had been going for a long long time, but it was early in the day as the sun was overhead. We headed out into a clearing and found a little house which we took advantage of and scampered around it and pushed open the door and messed with stuff. I think at some point we realized that it was not deserted, but a place where someone was living, they were just not home. Now looking back, it was just off the roadway and I'm sure the residents were gone to work. Just beyond the cabin was a vast swamp area. Now to a six year old a swamp of about an acre or so is vast. Butch said, “We need to cross the swamp.” I was delighted at this idea and was quite eager to embark on the next leg of the journey. Never mind that the 'vast swamp' might in itself represent a quality challenge.

Butch told me that we needed a boat. I was wondering where we were gonna find a boat and insisted that we eat the other bread because I was hungry again. So we sat down on the shore of the swamp and ate our other bread and again it seemed like sustenance rivaling the finest cuisine. In retrospect, it occurs to me that if you don't have much, you seem to appreciate all you do have all the more. So back to the problem of the boat. There were no boats to be had, nor had we spotted a raft or even the materials necessary for even a rudimentary raft. We really had to start being creative. Then he spotted our vessel. Around the corner of the house was a washtub. It was a large one. Since it was 1954, I'm sure that the owners used it to do their wash. But we didn't give it a second thought.

Saaaailing Aaaaaway!

This was perfect for our purposes. One huge washtub, two boys and vast swamp. I did not stop to think about what was on the other side of the swamp. We were about to embark on an adventure. This is where the stick with the bundle came in handy since we had no oars or paddles, we would use the stick to propel ourselves across the pond. We argued about whether it was really a swamp or a lake or a pond. We settled on a pond at one point until I pointed out that there were cattails in the shallows and so it had to be a swamp. That settled it and it became a swamp again.

We had to do some testing. We put the washtub in the shallows and both got into it. It seemed stable and we were excited. It soon became apparent that the washtub was resting on the bottom with our combined weights cementing it to the one spot. We broke the stick trying to launch the craft to no avail. Back to the drawing board. We knew then that we had to start in deeper water. However, we needed to locate a new gondola pole. Unfortunately, the inhabitants of the little house did not seem to be Italian because there was no gondola pole to be had. Finally we settled on their hoe. So now it was two little boys preparing to launch a sailing ship with an Italian Hoe aboard. (We later decided that they must be Italian after all since the contents of the cabin contained a huge tin of virgin olive oil. That still makes me chuckle. That's about the only virgin I ever knew.

Butch's Bright Idea!

We took the sailing ship to deeper water and both got into it. It was quickly evident that this vessel lacking any sort of ballast or rudder was only navigable in the most tenuous way. The person with the Italian hoe had to carefully, very carefully stick the hoe in the water to the bottom of the swamp and gently, ever so gently push off. Any sudden movement would spell disaster. Just then Butch, the hoe handler, lifted up and the tub with its contents flipped over and all were sent adrift.

We quickly made the decision that someone, moi, would have to push the craft while the captain, Butch, sat back and kept watch. It was with some trepidation that I accepted the job. Thankfully, I already learned to swim the previous summer in a near drowning. Or as the older siblings called it, total immersion swimming lessons. Anyway, I could survive for a long period of time treading water and dog paddling. So I began to push the ill fated craft toward the distant shore. As we went along the water got deeper and soon I was swimming but this was perfect since I could motor with my feet while I hung my arms over the edge. Yes the vessel was in a list, but all was well, until Butch got a bright idea. I am telling you those came only once in a while.

Dangerous Water Snake
Dangerous Water Snake

Snake bite!

His idea was to scare the hell out of me. So all of a sudden he yelled at the top of his lungs, “SNAKE!” I was alarmed to say the least and a huge jolt of adrenalin hit me and I shot out of the water like a water spike and landed squarely in the ship. The look of delight on Butch's face was short lived as the vessel heaved to and dumped its contents directly in the middle of the ocean, err, swamp. We both made for the shore at our fastest pace. We just got to the shore and I was griping about the snake trickery when we heard a vehicle of some sort approaching. We lit out like we had a fire under our heinies and headed for the woods in a full tilt sprint. When we got to the cover of the trees we stopped to see a farmer type standing by the swamp looking at the upturned washtub and the Italian Hoe and scratching his head.

Our secret!

By this time the sun was beginning to wane. We made fast time retracing our steps and only stopped long enough to drink out of the creek, if we had had an old coffee pot or or tea kettle we would have had us a water dog. But we needed to hustle.

We made it to the house just about the time mom was hollerin for us to come to dinner. What a fabulous day we had that day. We ran away, had several adventures and got home in time for dinner. No one was the wiser. My brother and I carried that secret for quite awhile and over the years reminisced about our first family vacation.


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    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks Benny, I appreciate the read. I'm glad you are enjoying these little stories. Oh how I loved that Italian Hoe.

    • BennyTheWriter profile image


      8 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      This is a really awesome story. I hope you do tell more! It was playing out like a movie in my mind. I started to crack up where you mention you and your brother decided to use the "Italian hoe" to launch the "ship."

      Perfect hub!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Tkumah thank you so much. I am so glad people are liking this story because I want to tell a lot more of them. Growing up in a large family has provided me with much entertainment. I plan to tell a couple more of these and see where they go.

    • Tkumah profile image


      8 years ago

      You are a talented story teller. Your style is an addictive mixture of organic spices and herbs that heal the soul.

      What a wonderful adventure. It feels like a holiday to read.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      samiaali thanks so much for the comment, I was thinking of telling some of these stories for a long time.....I was just a little timid about it because it is kind of a personal topic that I was unsure if anyone else would enjoy. I am bolstered by the fact that you liked it.

      Nellieanna You are right, there was plenty of room for that Nehi Orange, we just didn't have one! No place to get one. LOL

      Honestly, I cannot claim to be poetic in anyway....I just don't like poetry. But I am so happy that you see it that way. Do you think I should pursue more of these? I have dozens if not more funny little anecdotes throughout my early years that were such fun.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I've just been on the most wonderful adventure, Steve! It had everything!! (well all 'cept for Butch's neglect to bring along at least one Nehi orange to split between the vagabonds. There surely would have been a little more room in the bandana-on-a-stick for that!! And the story could've handled both it and that Italian Hoe - and the virgin olive oil, too!) ;->

      Don't you ever try to claim any lack of poetic spirit again, you bad boy!! That was poetry-in-prose of high order! What a fabulous story and, surely, it will be among many more tales of your and your siblings misadventures! Just magnificent!!

    • samiaali profile image


      8 years ago

      What a wonderful story! I could picture it all in my mind. How great it must be for you and your brother to have such a wonderful memory together. Thanks!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Hehehe....I always like an Italian Hoe, thanks for coming by once again. You are pretty cool!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      You drew me in with the Italian hoe, Steve. Funny tale. You and your bro were genuine rascals. Hope your mom survived your childhood with no ill effects.


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