There was coolness in the air which was not out of the ordinary for late October in Maine. It was the fall evening in 1959 (plus or minus a year) with William and I up to our usual tricks of finding something to do to get into mischief.
Earlier in the day we had smuggled a pack of Kool cigarettes out of William’s dad’s stash that he kept in the milk house. We had hidden them under some boards in the tractor shed.
Being that William’s parents owned a hundred acre farm within the city limits of Belfast, we had plenty of room to roam. Also, we had several, “camps”, “hideouts”, tree houses, and tree stands scattered across the property. That provided us with plenty of places to retreat to and smoke a cigarette or two.
Cigarette smoking was the “in” thing during the 50’s and 60’s, everybody did it. My parents were cigarette smokers as well as most of their friends. William’s dad was a smoker, but not his mom; she just contributed to my delinquency of plain doughnuts, but that’s another story. Anyway, smoking was just the social thing to do, so why wouldn’t us kids give it a shot sooner or later?
With a warm meal in our guts, our warm clothing donned, and our plan firmly in place, we headed for our hidden treasure. After a few minutes of searching we came out of the tractor shed empty handed wondering whatever could have happened to them cigarettes? As we looked up, there was William’s dad standing there – “You boys looking for something?” While holding up the pack of cigarettes in his hand “Come with me”, he said.
So, into the house we went not sure what form of punishment would be metered out. He lead the way into the living room. “So, you boys want to smoke cigarettes, do you? Have a seat!” He got a couple of ash trays and said, “Go ahead boys, light ‘em up!”
William’s dad was a man of few words and I only saw him get really upset once in all the years that I knew him. That was when we used his good hemlock boards to build our tree house (and a fine tree house it was – again, that’s another story).
Well, we didn’t have any choice but to sit and have a cigarette with William’s dad. But, it didn’t stop there. When we finished that first cigarette and started to go he said, “Not so fast boys, have another one.” I’m here to tell you that it didn’t stop with that second one either. He kept us there and “lit up” for the rest of the evening right through our favorite television show – Sea Hunt.
I don’t remember if we finished the whole pack or just most of it. However, I can tell you that once he was done with us, we weren’t really interested in “lighting up” again any time soon. William’s mom didn’t say anything, but I don’t think she was happy about having her living room all smoked up by a couple of juvenile delinquents.
We lived through that ordeal and managed to find other ways to get into trouble over the years. We didn’t have 911 when we were kids, but at least it’s available today and that’s a good thing because this July we will be able to get together to celebrate our birthdays, just like old times, and we just may have need of it. Sure wish we could have a nice homemade plain doughnut, hot right off the wood stove, to celebrate with. But, no cigarettes, please.
Take Care Until Next Time - - - - - -