Boys Will Be Boys
“Boys will be boys” says Carol Harrison as she tells a tale about two young boys and a rock throwing incident that led to faith in God.
Fiction Piece Challenge
I took on a challenge. Call it a new puzzle piece that involved my writing. Could I write a short fiction piece using single syllable words – well with a few exceptions? I thought about it. I had already tried another single syllable word challenge issued by Susan King and succeeded. Now the challenge became fiction writing as opposed to a devotional style piece.
I accepted the challenge. The resulting story ended up in Susan King’s Family Matters anthology and I decided to share it with you today.
Boys Will Be Boys
The hot, dry air made Tommy’s face feel damp with sweat, but with each scuff of his foot the ground sent dust up into the air with a puff, as he went for a walk to the school yard. There had been no rain for months and not much snow. He heard his pa and ma talk about the need of rain or the crops could not grow, when they thought he slept. He saw how sad they both were. For half his life, at least all the 1930’s years, he had seen such a small bit of rain fall he didn’t know what the good rain his folks spoke of might be like.
At the school yard, Tommy took a few small stones from the ground by his feet. He felt the smooth top of one and flung it into the field next to the old school house. Life isn’t fair he thought. Why’s my pa sick so much? Why isn’t there rain or snow so we could have more food for us and the cows? Why isn’t my friend here to do stuff with? No one could tell him why things were like they were.
He took the next stone and went to throw it into the field too. Not much to do on a hot August day but he could keep his arm strong to throw the ball next spring on the school team. Just as he went to throw the next one he heard some noise and then his friend, Ray’s voice, “Hey Tommy, didn’t think you’d make it. Can you stay and play for a bit?”
“Have to be home by chore time to help pa. He feels fine right now so Ma said I could come find you for two hours. You weren’t here so I thought you couldn’t come. Glad you did. Grab some stones.”
Ray bent and took a few stones from the dirt. “There’s no glass to break, just the big old hole up there, since the door’s not shut. Bet you can’t throw a stone and hit the barn loft door.” Ray said.
Tommy threw with all his might. His aim was true and the stone hit the space with a small plink. “Can too!” he said, “But I bet you can’t do as good.”
Boys Will Be Boys Having Fun
Since school wouldn’t start for at least a month, the boys saw no one to stop their fun, no small kids to get in their way or be hurt with the stones and no glass to break which made it all the more sweet. No one would be mad at them or make them stop their fun. The war of stones was on.
The boys set some rules. They’d take turns and throw just one stone at a time. For the next hour they threw stones at the barn loft door until sweat ran down their cheeks. Their aim was good and most stones found their mark. With no strength left for one more throw, they fell on the ground by the big old tree and spun tales of pranks they might try. Then Tommy got up and said, “Got to head home for chores. Don’t need to have pa or ma get mad. Who knows what he would do. Might be he’d have to take to his bed and make me do all the work.”
“I have to help at home too.” His friend said.
“Don’t think we should tell what we did just now. Don’t think we want one of the men on the board to tell our pas on us. When school starts they’ll find the stones on the loft floor but won’t know how they got there. No one needs to know it was us, right?” Tommy said.
“We can’t tell.” Ray said too. “No one got hurt.”
The heat of that day did not leave for more than six weeks. But then fall’s cool days came. The poor crops had been cut and brought to the home place. The hay stack was short but pa thought it might last until spring. It was time to start the fall school term and the boys had to be in their desks each day.
Glass panes in wood frames had to take the place of screens to keep out the cold that would soon come. Men from the school board took those frames from the barn loft and found at least one pane in each frame had cracks, holes and breaks in them from small stones they found on the floor. They stood at the front of the class and asked, “Which one of you did this? Don’t you know how much it costs to get new ones? No one has spare cash for this but if we don’t fix them you’ll freeze in here. Who’s at fault?”
Tommy and Ray hung their heads but didn’t say a word. When no one said a thing the men took the frame and left. Tommy was glad no one knew who had thrown stones into the loft but guilt was a huge load to bear. For a long time the boys stuck to their plan and told no tales but fear held its grip on each of them for weeks. Did they pull off the prank or would they still be caught. They did not brag of how true their aims were and how far they could throw or which one of them threw the best. No one found out who had done the deed.
A Sick Father
At home, Tommy’s pa got sick once more and took to his bed. Tommy and his ma had to do all the work. One day he came home from school and went to the barn to help milk the cows. He heard his Ma pray and ask God to make his Pa get well. Then he heard her ask God to help him be a good boy at school and choose to do the right things. Did she know about the stones he threw that August day? She might but then he knew for sure that God had seen him. He thought on what Ma told him over and over, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Was that in the Good Book? Might be since God knows all things, he’d been told.
Ma saw him or heard the cows for sure and her words quit. He saw a smile on her face but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. He didn’t feel one on his. He’d have to tell her or at least God. By the time he had the cows back into the field, he had told God, “I didn’t know the glass had been put in that old barn loft. It wasn’t a prank. I didn’t mean to break them.”
Then he told Ma the same thing he told God. She shook her head and gave him a hug. “You’ll have to do more chores at the school so they know you didn’t plan to be bad. You were just being a boy with time on his hands. It’ll be fine son. You did the right thing to tell me and God.”
Tommy and Ray’s Chores
Tommy didn’t like the chores at school for a whole month, as well as all the ones at home. He was glad he didn’t have to wait and see if he’d be caught. Ray was a good friend and chose to tell the truth of how he threw some of the stones too.
Years went by and the boys grew up and still were friends. They’d meet to visit. I heard their tales of days gone by. They told of a hot day and a war of stones. Laughs and plinks of stone on wood could be heard from a time long past as two boys spoke now of aims so good, a prank, some said, gone bad and how no one found out until Tommy told God, his ma and the men from the school board. They told me of chores they did to pay for their crime. Their smiles told me they still might have thought the wee bit of fun had been worth it since they had not meant to break those panes.
Then they shook their heads and said to me, “Yes boys will be boys but do as we say and not as we did for your sins will find you out. You can try to hide but God knows it all.”
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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