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Re: [Seniormemoirs] What I Do When I DO Nothing At ALl

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  • Pete Hunter
    Tom,   Great remembrance and very well worded. You re the first person in years that I have heard mention, Mumbly Peg. I guess there are various spellings
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 28, 2009
      Great remembrance and very well worded.
      You're the first person in years that I have heard mention, Mumbly Peg.
      I guess there are various spellings for this grass chewing, dirt eating little game ... according to what neck of the woods you're from ... but I spell it the same as you. 
      When you have a mouth full of some body's front yard, you mumble and spit a lot.
      Long ago, I applied a dash of Aristotelian, deductible, logical thinking and deduced, that's how the originators came up with the name. I've stuck with that reasoning on others words and situations my entire life and it has served me well.   
      Ironically, several months ago I started a remembrance short story titled, "When High-top Boots Came With a Pocket Knife." It's about how well armed children were, especially boys, back in olden days. Just about every Christmas, my grand parents would buy me a pair of High-top boots at Sears & Roebucks. On the side of the right boot was a little leather pocket with a snap-flap, to keep the pocket knife that came with the boots. Today, on a shopping quest for those type of boots ... if they still existed ... you would have to look for the Terrorists Department on the Sears directory at the Mall.      
      Isn't it sad that we can't teach our children how to whittle things out of wood or soap or for young boys, smitten by a pretty girl no longer cant carve a statement of their love for each other in the bark of a tree? And last but not least, no longer to able to play Mumbly Peg for fear of being labled disturbed or otherwise a danger to himself or to society? 
      Sorry, didn't mean to ramble. 
      See you at the meet,

      --- On Tue, 1/27/09, Thomas E. Hepler <teh.himself@...> wrote:
      From: Thomas E. Hepler <teh.himself@...>
      Subject: [Seniormemoirs] What I Do When I DO Nothing At ALl
      To: "Senior Memoirs" <Seniormemoirs@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 3:04 PM

      by Thomas E. Hepler
      “Where are you going?”
      When I was a kid, that was the question Mom usually asked when I was 
      about to leave the house.
      A master of being evasive, I would answer, “Out.”
      “What are you going to do?”
      And I was gone. Mom and I played that “nothing” game for years.
      Nothing amounted to playing baseball, basketball, football, or whatever 
      was in season. If some of my friends had their knives that day, we might 
      opt to play something we called mumbly peg. That involved flipping the 
      knife in a prescribed routine, each flip more difficult than the 
      previous. There were so many variations to that game that I could only 
      describe if I had a lot of time. I don’t. So I won’t.
      To participate I had to borrow a friend’s knife. My parents were very 
      protective and did not allow me to possess a knife — or a gun for that 
      matter. Mom didn’t realize it then, but she was raising a future NRA 
      member. That is another story for another time.
      Undeterred by the lack of my own gun, “doing nothing” sometimes meant 
      shooting rats at the black creek or the town dump using a borrowed gun. 
      Many of my friends owned .22 caliber rifles. It was only fair that I had 
      to pay for the bullets. At least I was alive to do so. In many 
      countries, where firing squads dispatched people, the family of the 
      honored guest was required to pay for the bullets.
      One summer in particular, I would guess about 1943, “nothing” meant a 
      summer of entrepreneurship. Billy Noon’s family had a stable in the back 
      of their property. The building was falling apart. Very few families had 
      horses by then, and the structures were just too small to convert to 
      garages. In other words, they were useless. We began the building’s 
      demolition by using hatchets to chop it up, piece by piece. Packing the 
      remnants into a wagon, we went door to door, selling the firewood for 
      fifteen cents a wagon load. The principals in the business were Bill 
      Noon, Bobby Rebuck, and I. We each took a nickel from the sale. It was 
      all profit. The material was free, somebody, I don’t know who, had a 
      wagon, and there were no labor costs. In fact, we three robber barons 
      had free labor — our younger brothers. Always wanting to hang around 
      older brothers seemed to be a cottage industry, so we put them to work 
      while we principals did exactly nothing other than knocking on the door 
      and consummating the sale. Were we older, and as successful as we 
      thought we were, we would probably have been able to play golf, a sport 
      left to people successful at doing nothing.
      That was the way it was with kids. We did a lot, disguised as nothing.
      As I got older, Mom would insert another question between, “Where are 
      you going?” and “What are you going to do?” The new question was, “With
      Girls were now part of the scene, and Mom was always a bit suspicious. I 
      am not going to comment on what “doing nothing” meant in that context 
      other than to say we young lads were good kids, and — unfortunately — so 
      were the girls.
      Doing nothing as a kid was a very active endeavor. What will I do when I 
      am older to satisfy the need to do nothing? I will take naps, one in the 
      morning, one in the afternoon, and then, at night, I’ll set the alarm so 
      that I can wake up and take another middle-of-the-night nap.
      Until then, I will continue to do what I’ve been doing for the past 
      sixty plus years — the ultimate in nothing, the nothing that began by 
      listening to nothing on the radio. Nothing then graduated to TV viewing 
      of nothing. Sometimes, I’ve been able to do nothing in person. The big 
      nothing investment in my life I have been alluding to, has been 
      following the flight, no, the plight of the Philadelphia Eagles, year 
      after year.
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