When I was in elementary school, my mother’s family seemed to get together almost every other weekend during the spring and summer. I have three male cousins that are really close to my age that would always be at these family reunions. It was also good that we had each other to keep entertained. Some of these reunions were held at the old school houses in the rural West Tennessee communities that were barely recognized as communities anymore. Some of these buildings had been re-purposed as community centers but some were barely safe to be in. I don’t know that any of them had air conditioning, some were without electricity and I don’t know that any of them had indoor plumbing. It was an adventure just getting into some of these buildings.
While I always had my cousins to play with, there were almost always kids there that we didn’t know. I remember most of the time we would just keep to ourselves, not playing with the kids we didn’t know. Sometimes there was an organized activity, like a baseball game, to get the kids to know each other. At one gathering there was a group of boys that we didn’t know. We also didn’t get along with them. I don’t remember what was said and I don’t remember any fighting. I do remember there was either chasing or hiding from each other. There was a point where we were hiding behind the old two-seater outhouse behind the old school and we heard the group of boys on the other side. We also heard my little sister talking to them. She told them, “You better not mess with my brother! He’s tough! He watches wrestling!”
There was probably no worse thing that she could have told these boys. It is a fact that I did watch wrestling. I was a huge wrestling fan. That didn’t give me any skills at fighting. Of the members of my group, I was probably the least aggressive and now I had a target on my head.
I don’t remember a fight that day. I don’t remember hanging out within eyesight of our parents the rest of the day. I don’t remember doing anything to my sister either. Maybe my sister scared them away.
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