Friday, May 4, 2012

Dodge Darts and Brotherly Love

In the days when few of us had televisions, we had to make our own fun. If enough kids were around, we could get a ball game going or ride bikes to the railroad tracks to expore. When other kids were busy with chores or errands, siblings usually played with each other. If our chores were done and we were bored, we found our own entertainment.

My brother typically didn't want to play with me, treated me like I was a knat most of the time, so when he did ask me to play. I was thrilled and quickly agreed. Our house had a wooden fence that my dad kept in good repair and was tall enough that I could not see over the top. I may have been about 9 years old during these games that will never find their way to the Olympics.

It's hard to picture getting suckered over and over again into something my brother would think was too funny for words, like getting me to taste the neighbor's metal gate after a big snow. "It tastes just like ice cream, I promise," he would say as he pretended to taste the gate himself. After my tongue was firmly attached and screams of panic tore from my throat, I recall thinking he clearly didn't taste the section I did and it tasted nothing like ice cream. Althought I was in pain, my tongue so swolen it filled my mouth, I was still confused by the trap I fell into, still wondering how his tongue didn't get captured by the evil metal. My face felt burned from the cold exposure and my tears felt hot as they rolled without a sound, my heart breaking as my mom wore herself out whipping him with a belt and cussing like a sailor.

As for dodge darts, it was more of a summer game. I loved the attention from my brother who mostly ignored me and acted like I was invisible. At times I would run to the bathroom and check in the mirror, reassuring myself I was not invisible. Like a little sucker of a sister, I willingly became his partner in this game. Jimbo got a dart board one year, for a birthday or Christmas. He wasn't allowed to play in the house so it was set up outside. When he explained the rules of dodge dart to me, I wasn't hesitant in the least. Excited that this time, I would win. Yes, I thought that every time we played. I was warned to never tell mom or we couldn't play together. If I wasn't invisible, I was happy. If we played, I wasn't invisible.

To begin the game, he would mark my "dogde" area. He placed large rocks at four corners and used tree branches to fashion a small square in the lawn on one side of the fence. That was my side of the fence. To win the game, I had to dodge the darts he tossed over the fence from the other side without going over the "foul lines" he set for me. Now, how many times in these games do you think I was able to dodge all the darts when he only gave me about 3 feet side to side and front to back to work with?

I realized after seeing the first dart fly straight up like a rocket, curve almost in slow motion then gather speed as it made it's way for a direct hit at my face, this was going to hurt. I don't know how but I was mostly able to dodge the darts but some found their way to my arms, mostly because I had them wraped over my head as I ran in tight circles like a chicken with her head cut off. I would be in tears at the end of the game, not knowing he realized if he played any longer, Mom would find out. He would come to my side of the fence to count the number of times I was hit, which was easy since each place had little red dots of blood. I will never know what factors he used to tell me "great game" or instead, call me a cry baby. That would stop my crying, it was the absolute worst thing to be know as, a cry baby! It wasn't that I was dumber than dirt that kept me involved with his games, it was simply that my big brother asked me to play with him and that was a rare treat. I can't remember ever being the least bit suspicious as I always jumped at the chance to spend time with him, even when almost every game he suggested ended with me injured or trapped and usually in tears. My feeling of joy at being asked to spend time with him won me over every time.

He must have "LOVED" playing with me because he was willing to face my mother's rage and what seemed like an endless belt lashing if he was caught.

For all you brothers out there, us sisters forgive you for games like dodge darts because we loved you then and we love you now, unconditionally...... mostly.


  1. oh honey - this story is exactly the reason why i am glad that my only brother was younger than me - bahahahah! you can imagine how many of such games i played with him - bahahahah! but ya know...i am glad that you still love your brother mostly unconditionally now...heavy emphasis on the word mostly.

    your whole story made me think of the movie "Dodgeball"...have you seen it? oh crap - it gets me and my hubby laughing every time we see it. i will leave you with only one iconic line from the movie (oh and there are several - trust me!) - it goes like this:

    "if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball"

    bahahahahahah! of course, as usual, i am never laughing at you...i am laughing with you. i love these stories hillbilly...i love 'em!

    your friend,

    1. Haha LOVE BIG BROTHERS! My oldest did something similar to my sister with a bow and arrow only she was not allowed to move at all. When the arrow came down and went through her boot right between her toes, we realized how stupid and dangerous that game was. My other brother and neighbor friend use to shoot firecrackers at us through long cardboard tubes, we were give a 20 second head start where we would run for our lives and scramble up a tree dodging firecrackers! Amazing we make it to adulthood!

      Loved this story, brought back fond memories!

    2. Kymber and Carrie, hahahaha
      Dodge a wrench, maybe I will see if he can dodge a wrench now! Bow and Arrow through the boot, ouch! Love the firecracker story though, can you recall how they were launched, this is also a revenge option. Funny stories girls, T

    3. I actually remembered it was bottle rockets launched through cardboard tubes, the long ones like wrapping paper come on :)