The Famous, Big-Stick Ambush: was a failure recorded by the unseen ears and smiles of Mom and Dad. I can't tell you why, nor exactly when, other than it was summer, and Buddie and I were mad.
Buddie Hines and I were mad at Genie (Eugene) Forcier. We decided to teach him a lesson. We knew he was coming to my house and would soon arrive at my house walking eastward on the sidewalk from his house , four houses to the west. We would set an ambush. There was a hedge along the boundary between my house and the Emerson house just west of us. The walk to my back yard between that hedge and my house was only a two or three feet wide. That narrow space made a perfect place to hide. We got what seemed to us to be big sticks, one each. Our front porch was part of the house closest to Genie's arrival sidewalk. Next to the porch, with the sticks held in the air, that stood, hiding. We talked about how and why we were going to thrash Genie for whatever offense he had committed against us. Apparently we talked in detail, with great determination. You see, this is a story I heard many times in the years after. Right above us, invisible beyond the open porch windows on this pleasant summer evening sat my mom and dad reading the evening newspaper. I'm not sure how old I was, but apparently too young to be taken seriously when wielding a stick. Genie was not a big kid, but he was three years older than Buddie and me. Mom and Dad gave no thought to intervening. Rather, they fought to control their laughter as they listened to us plot the ambush. They were wise. When Genie arrived we didn't exactly rush out. In fact, our “attack” was so unworthy of the word that it took Genie a moment to figure out what we two cowards had intended. He dispensed with our threat without any blow being struck except to my and Buddie's pride. He humiliated us, before the three of us went off to play at something and forget the whole incident. Later, returning home “when the arc-lights came on” (the standard neighborhood command from parents to children) my parents asked me how my ambush went. Oh, the humiliation! Finding out that they heard the whole thing and witnessed my cowardice was ten times worse than the humiliation inflicted by Genie.
My parents were pretty good at not rubbing salt in the wounds of their children, and not telling embarrassing stories when I was tnear enough to hear them. Yet, this was too good a story not to be told. Deep down, I knew I deserved to be laughed at. I don't think I was too far into adulthood myself before I could repeat the story and laugh at myself.
(c) from date of posting, by Bob Komives, Fort Collins