About the Writing

About Black Days, Black Dust

Excerpt from BDBD

Bio Stuff



Lesson Plan Ideas
24 Chapters


The Fun Side of Life ~ Chapter 6 ~ installment 1

      Summertime cloudbursts got my attention. I pressed my forehead against the living room window, uttered a deep miserable sigh, and moaned, "There goes the swimming hole again."
      A voice in the room, usually Bill's, answered my misery. "Yeah. I guess we'll just have to make it deeper, won't we?"
      That comment broke the gloom. We'd burst out laughing, get in a huddle, and start making plans. Even if we had to work at having fun, Paw Paw Creek was the place to be on a hot summer's day.
      Hard rains washed everything down from Fairview and swept away our dam and make-shift diving board, a railroad tie contraption. To bring back the swimming hole, the first thing we had to do was pull out all the big rocks, branches, and anything foreign in the pool. Then, without any thought to time, we replaced our diving board and dammed up the lower part with discarded railroad ties that lay along the tracks. I tried to help with this heavy work, but I was too small. Brother Bill was our commander-in-chief. Most of the fun came in designing a better diving board and scheming to make our pool ever deeper and deeper. Sometimes we got it to five feet. Definitely over my head. Then the next storm swept it away.
      Most of us boys swam naked until the girls came by to steal a peek. Then we all exploded in dares and jeers and endless laughter. During their surprise visits we stooped down in the water until one boy, who never swam naked, went to gather our cut-off pants and bring them back. The girls screamed at us and tormented us, but no one bared his all!
      When the water receded below our dam, my friends and I walked the creek banks with rolled-up pant legs searching for pieces of junk. Metal buckets, lids, and pans washed down from homes upstream all the time. We also found children's toys, balls, scraps of metal, and the best treasure, automobile wheel covers. I dragged my junk home, stored it in my yard, and waited for Saturday morning.

Printed from the book Black Days, Black Dust, by Robert Armstead as told to S.L. Gardner,
published by the University of Tennessee Press, 2002

You'll have to wait until next month to discover what Bob did with his mighty fine junk. I know--rats! Wait! No! You don't have to wait!  

• Read Installment 2
• Read Installment 3