I Ain  

rm_KanineT9 67M
1 posts
10/6/2005 1:41 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

I Ain

Saturday, August 09, 2003

I Ain’t Naked

Summer has always been my favorite season. Here in southwest Ohio, the majority of the inhabitants are suffocated by the intense heat and humidity. Words like ‘muggy’ or ‘close’ are used to describe this climate. I like the hot weather and have never minded the humidity. And so on one such summer day in early August 1958, three boys rode their bikes down Ridge Road to Section and headed east for a short distance to a concrete tunnel. The creek flows through this tunnel under Section Rd. which divides French Park into two parts in the suburb of Amberly Village. The park was a gift from the French family which had amassed an impressive fortune in the dairy business and supplied much of the milk consumed in this corner of the world. On the north side of the road, the park rises steadily and at the top of the hill is the old French mansion. The creek flows down that hill and for the most part is fairly tame with the exception of a thunderstorm which naturally causes the creek to swell and rush furiously. On the south side of Section Road, the terrain slopes down more gradually and there is a wide, deep pool at that end of the tunnel. This southern part of the park supposedly had been given to the Girl Scouts by the estate and so the majority of our time was spent exploring the north half. But on this day, we had parked our bikes at the north end of the tunnel and walked approximately 50 feet through to the pool. At this end of the tunnel, it is finished in a series of steps on either side with a header at the top near the road. The adventure of this day had begun.
If you are male, you understand how a creek in the woods affects a boy. It’s always just a matter of time before you hear that squishing sound coming from your shoes filled with water and eventually rolled up pant legs fall down and are soaked. These are constants in the universe. Rocks are skipped and thrown in every direction. If a bottle is found, it must be broken but not in the water. It is shattered in a place that will not restrict any necessary investigation and any yield from such investigation is put in a prominent place for further research and admiration. Any creatures found living or dead are also subject to scrutiny and catalogued. As the morning gave way to the afternoon, the temperature rose along with the need for more adventure. Shoes and socks had been removed early on and then the pants needed to be removed eventually in the spirit of true exploration. At that point, underwear and t-shirts have no purpose and are also discarded. The three naked boys, Larry, Mike, and Jimmy felt safe and shielded in these woods, in the water. But the sound of the road was intruding into their Robin Hood fantasy and something had to be done. The next step had to be taken.
Being naked in the woods conjured up images of savage tribesmen in a Tarzan movie and so it was required that each of us find a long stick suitable for a spear. With our weapons, we climbed up the stepped end of the tunnel, crouching in the tall grass as we approached the road. Along Section Rd. rich older Jewish woman in big cars and housewives with station wagons full of kids drove by our hidden compound unaware of our presence. Now was the time to strike and so we did with our jungle cry, “heyyyyyyluulahluulahbooooo!!!” rushing the road and menacing the traffic, pumping our spears up and down. We would retreat after each advance laughing so hard our bellies hurt, imagining the horrified looks on the faces of the passersby. Feeling the need to defend our sanctuary, the battle went on for some time. But eventually we required rest, and so Larry and Mike sat upon the steps of the tunnel, reading a soaking wet edition of Action Comics while I searched the water for any sign of life or treasure. Now mid-afternoon, the traffic from the road was virtually nonexistent. It was very quiet for some time. When we heard the voice from the far end of the tunnel, our blood ran cold.
The Amberly Village cops wore uniforms that were all black and grey with boots and Smokey the Bear hats. They looked like soldiers and now we were going to prison for sure for our insurrection.
“What’s going on in there?” in a stern voice. “Whose bikes are these?”
Mike, still sitting on the steps with Larry leaned his head over the side of the tunnel. His eyes were big and round and in a trembling voice he said weakly, “I ain’t naked.”
The cop barked,“Get your clothes and get over here.”
Slowly we gathered our clothes which were dry for the most part now and put them on. We marched deliberately through the tunnel to the policeman and our bikes. It was the man’s job to scare the hell out of us at this point and he was doing a great job of keeping a straight face. He was tall and stared down at us as he took our names, addresses, and phone numbers. It would be impossible to explain this to our parents if he chose to inform them. So we rode home in silence and never again spoke of the episode among ourselves. I guess the cop never did tell our parents and, as far as I know; none of us ever went to prison. In the end, I’m glad I was part of that adventure because this is my daughter’s favorite story and I have told it to her many times, upon her request, as a bedtime story.

Become a member to create a blog