That afternoon was just right to go swimming. We had come over to Mom and Granddad's to spend the afternoon with them after church. When we arrived, my two cousins were already there. They were both older than I, but we were just like brothers. There was always somewhere we could, or something we could do together. Usually we would end up in trouble, like the time we tried to ride the calf in the cow-lot and nearly hurt ourselves. But, we always had fun together.
After dinner was finished, we decided that it was a perfect afternoon to go swimming. But where to go? There were no water holes in the creek deep enough to swim in. Besides, there generally were too many snakes to worry with. "I know just the place," said Jim, "Uncle Don's tank would be just right." Of course, the tank was over a mile away, but what did that matter for three young boys eager for adventure. So we set out on our journey, anxious find something exciting to do.
The tank was in the center of a large cotton field. The water was muddy, but that didn't matter. We hurriedly stripped down to our "birthday-suits" and dived in. This was really living! From a small ledge at the edge of the we could perform our great feats of 'skilled' diving, which usually ended in a "belly-buster." Before very long this became boring and something else had to be found -- a good mud-hole fight. We quickly separated to take cover and to find a place close to the bank where there was plenty of mud. This was not hard since our feet sank about six inches into the mud on the bottom of the tank. The fight was on! Jim grabbed a big chunk of mud and scored a bull's-eye on Joe's head. Joe ducked his head under the water and came up with a hand full of firm mud. He caught me off guard and, boy, did that mud sting for a few minutes. Everything went fine until I happened to get a rock in a mud-ball. That started the warfare in earnest, and rocks were deliberately placed in the chunks of mud. This continued for some time, until Jim noticed our dads coming across the field. That look in their eyes meant trouble, and we knew what to expect.
"Where in the world have you been? We've been looking for you for nearly an hour!" Upon a sharp command, we got out of the water to put on our clothes. Both of our dads each had a large green cotton stalk in their hand, and they "poured it on us" all the back to the car.
For the next few days, I had a constant reminder of that Sunday afternoon. But now that I look back, those times are very important to me. Then, we could turn loose and really run wild. We learned about nature and life through experiencing it. I had fun with Joe and Jim. Those days are gone now, but, not the memories of them, for Joe and Jim were killed in an auto accident not long after that.
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