To this very day I do not know why I did such crazy things growing up; the wheels in my head were always turning.
There was a novelty store on the south side of the square next to the alley. It was a wonderful shop, they sold things in there that no other store in Chillicothe carried. I believe it was more of a smoke shop though. One day I bought this little round metal can about the size of a quarter, it was full of cigarette loads. I had been saving my money for this for quite some time, for you see everyone in my family smoked. For that matter, the majority of adults smoked back then.
We had just moved our Vagabond trailer between the old house and the railroad tracks next to the viaduct on S. Washington. At this time my cousins were still living in the house. After walking home from uptown I saw dad and another man sitting outside the trailer drinking. I hated it when dad started drinking, because it would last for weeks.
I ran down the hill from Washington Street and into the trailer. I watched and listened to them through the screen door and got madder and madder as they drank and told tall tales. Dad had run out of his cigarettes so he yelled in at me and told me to look in the trailer for some in the ash trays, that’s because mom would leave long butts about.
Remember… LSMFT? I found a Lucky Strike without a filter about an inch and a half long, Perfect! I yelled back and told him I had found one. It didn't take me long to put one of those loads into it. Since I had never used these before, I thought… one more should work even better!
After I loaded the butt, I could still see them both. So I took a matchstick and pushed them deeper stick inside the cigarette. When I opened the screen door and handed it out to him he asked me to light it. This request was something that I had not planned on.
I was very careful as I lit it up, I knew if I sucked on it too much it would go off. I took it to him and watched as he smoked it. Nothing happened for a while, until it got about 3/4" long. As he was about to throw it away, he took one last puff. It went off like a firecracker and numbed his lips. He fell backwards in his chair and started cursing. The other man started laughing, so I did too, now that was a big mistake on my part!
Oh, he was so mad. He got to his feet and the chase was on. I could run faster than him. Every time he got near, I ran around George Trager’s Welding Shop and Bailey’s Garage on Leeper Street. I remember that finally he tricked me and I was in for it. It was the worst whippin’ I ever had from him.
My dad is on the right and that's Truman Graves on the left. We rented the house in the background for just $35 a month. It had two bed rooms, a kitchen, and living room. We had an outside toilet.