Monday, August 11, 2008

Flinging Apples and Shooting Goldenrod

In late summer, we all got excited when the little green apples would start getting a little size to them. Some kids would eat the little sour apples, but we never did. We were always warned that eating green apples would give us the "green apple runs" so we avoided eating them. The reason we got excited over green apples was the anticipation of apple flinging. Us kids would get a small but sturdy sapling about 3 feet long and an inch around and sharpen one end of it. We would then stick a little green apple on the sharpened end, bring the stick over your shoulder, fling the apple and watch that little sucker fly away into the distance. I recall we were only allowed to use certain apple tree's for flinging, those tree's being the one's that had scabby or wormy apples. The Red Delicious tree on the turn and Granny's apple tree were off limits to us.

You’d be surprised just how far you can fling an apple this way, some of them would sail several hundred feet. Eventually, everyone would join in and we’d have a huge apple war with each person finding a team and attacking each other. These apples would sting you pretty bad if they hit you so you learned real fast to take cover. It was a very fun way to pass the humid summer evenings on the mountain.

Another game we played was bows and arrows. We’d craft a crude bow out of a hickory sapling and a piece of bailing twine. We’d use goldenrod weeds for arrow by stripping off the leaves from the stalk. We’d shoot these arrows at different things, and later on when we got bicycles, we’d make a gauntlet of sorts, where one person would ride their bicycles through a group of people with bows, the object was for the bow shooters to shoot into the spokes of your bicycle and wreck you, but usually that never happened, usually the bicycle wheel would throw the goldenrod back out.

We weren’t allowed to use real wood for our arrows because when Dad was little, he was playing bows and arrows with the kids his age and he accidentally shot my Uncle Fudgy in the eye with a stick arrow, it nearly put his eye out and even to this day, Fudgy has a slight squint in his one eye. That didn’t affect is much since Goldenrod was more plentiful and worked just fine for us anyway.


tipper said...

Sounds like good times!

Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

Another entertaining post....

Granny Sue said...

Matthew, the things you describe are so like the things my sons did growing up. I like the details you add--like which trees you were allowed to use.

What you're doing is capturing a time and place for a generation of mountain children. Good on you.