Post # 158
I’ve been thinking about this subject, and decided to use the title “Fool Hearty”…then I wondered, who made up such a combination of words? It must be some shortened version of “forging ahead stupidly” or “charging out with reckless abandon”.
What makes some people frightened of their surroundings and others not so. I have always been frightened of height, my father was not. My father could walk to the edge of cliff and look straight down. I remember a time living in the Minneapolis area we visited the IDS observation deck, it was about the 33rd floor. My father took my four or five-year old daughter, walked up to the window and look down. I, however, was plastered, with my back to the wall, 10 feet back, feeling the building sway to and fro! Even with this as a fear, there were some Fool Hearty things I did, that I wonder about today.
Picture a time, later than but, similar to the years of the movie “A Christmas Story”. We were living in a little town called St. John, in northern Indiana, it was post WWII. We lived behind the St. John Catholic Church on a block-long street with a few GI-Loan build 30 by 30 foot houses. The other side of the street was open field. We were literally on the edge of the country. There were a half-dozen or so of us post WWII baby boomer kids on that block. We would pull our wagons to the end of the block, turn left and there is was, the HILL. It began just 100 feet from where we stood. It was road, a short cut between two towns, St. John and Dyer, and not without some traffic. But, the HILL challenged us. It was black topped, about 500 feet in length, (which seemed a mile to us) with a downward slope at about 35 degrees.
I don’t know whose idea it was, I was more of a follower, but there was excitement, not fear, sitting inside our wagons, using the handle to steer us down the hill. We had no concept of left or right, there were no lane lines, just the HILL. The challenge was speed without destruction! We even ventured into the world of backwards riding….skinned elbows and knees stopped that in a hurry.
The same HILL was across from my house, but consisted of a corn field. On a snowy, winters day, the HILL would be full of daredevil kids and sleds. Some kids were zipping down the HILL, others would be running into each other, and then there were the Fool Hearty. We all had twine tied to the sled’s handle to assist in pulling it back up the HILL.
The Fool Hearty, or maybe I was the only Fool Hearty one, wanted to ride my sled like a daredevil cowboy standing on the back of his horse. Yep, pardner, I stood on the sled and took off down the HILL. There’s just something about snow, rubber goloshes and standing varnished wood that identifies the Fool Hearty. My sled made it to the bottom, I on the other had fallen off, landed on my ankle in excruciating pain, half way down the hill. I hopped down to my sled and then crawled back up the HILL. After a time in agony, a couple of neighbor kids reluctantly pulled me, on my sled, back to my house and dropped me off.
The Fool Hearty dislocated his right ankle and was in a cast over two weeks. Picture this, if you think goloshes and snow is slippery, try crutches with snow filled rubber feet, on waxed school floors!!!
The HILL won, I never challenged it again.