, Newburyport, MA


April 10, 2013

Boys will be boys


There were a couple of games we enjoyed using our knives. One was a game we called “baseball game.” We would kneel on the grass and open up the knives. With the long blade straight out and the shorter one only half way out, we would begin by tossing the knife, hoping it would twirl in the air and land point first into the grass. How it landed determined the hit: if it landed on the long blade first or on the smaller blade. If the knife landed flat on its side, they were out. The game was not much interest to me, it was too slow.

The other game was played kneeling on the grass in a circle. With the long blade out someone would begin with placing the point of the blade on the back of their hand. With the other hand on top of the knife, he would flip the knife over to make the knife land in the circle point first. If one succeeded he would then work farther up the arm with the knife, with the same objective, to flip the knife point first into the circle. With each success, we would work farther up to the chin, the face and so on. If we missed the circle, we’d lose our turn. I really did not care for this game either.

My favorite activity, with a group of boys, was to hike to what we referred to as “out back.” There were two popular areas we hiked to, both about 3 miles from home. One was near our swim hole along the Boston & Maine Railroad where the tracks ran close to where we swam. Just down the dirt road from there was a trail into the woods. Not far in was a large rocky ledge; on the ledge we would climb around, working our way to an opening to a den-like cave. It was known as “Devil’s Den.” After climbing around, we’d build a fire in the den using the wood nearby. Using our old trusty knives, we’d cut twigs to hold our hot dogs and marshmallows. After having a great time cooking and eating, we’d put the fire out and head home.

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