Adventures of a Part-Time Delinquent

Boomer Tales

Kent Ford

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You might enjoy reading this book if:--You have a brother who was born a Marine.--You had a free-wheeling childhood in a small town.--You played school sports.--You remember your first car or your first job.--You've ever raided a drive-in theater (you can compare techniques).--You served in the Navy, especially if you got away with missing movement.--You're familiar with what a community newspaper is.--You've ever had an adventure under the stars or on the trail.--You've ever seen a ghost.--You're tired of reading about abuse, addiction, discrimination, violence and vampires.Snippets.I put a .22 rifle bullet on the sidewalk in front of our house and smacked it with a hammer. That doesn't sound like something that would have occurred to a four-year-old without outside influence.My breathing became ragged and shallow one day. Dad drove Mom and me to the hospital. Mom kept me alive during the brief trip by swinging me around by the heels in the back seat. In my imagination, I see her bashing out my brains on a door handle.With enough speed, I thought, that ramp will launch me down the road a few feet. That's exactly what it did. Unfortunately, it didn't launch my bike along with me.My baseball career ended when I tried out for the high school team. We warmed up by playing catch. I had trouble seeing the ball clearly as it approached my nose. It occurred to me that an eye exam might be in order. The man who ran the little storefront optometry shop fixed me up with my first pair of glasses. The exam and glasses cost $15. I made payments.The cook turned his back to me and raised his arms. I moved in behind him and locked my hands behind his neck. A half second later I was lying on my back looking up at the cook.The 1953 scratch-and-dent, flathead Ford Fairlane I bought had bald tires all around, rust cavities in the floorboard and vapor-lock in its constitution.The drive-in theater occupied a couple of acres at the west edge of town. Drive-ins provided a secure make-out alternative to isolated gravel roads. That impression of security suffered a blow this night.After my sophomore year in college, I told the Navy recruiter that I'd join up if I could work on airplanes on a carrier. He said something like, "That can be arranged."On the chit requesting a pass I wrote Matsushita Hotel, Tokyo, and a random phone number. What shop chief would deny a pass to a couple of hard-working squids who'd been away from home for eight months?Soon after I arrived, four firemen entered the building through a rear basement door. No flames were visible, but smoke seeped out around window frames. Flashing lights on emergency vehicles splashed color across store buildings.The forlorn little newspaper contained a few club and church items, feature stories about local history, and virtually no photographs or advertising.I gazed upon a shape, entirely black, in what appeared to be a long overcoat and a flat wide-brimmed hat. The shape looked at me darkly, without eyes or any other facial features.South Kaibab Trail follows ridgetops for much of its length to the Colorado River. For Sharon's sake, I had to maintain a measure of seriousness so she wouldn't think I was taking our challenge too lightly, but I felt like giggling. We had descended into wonderland.

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