might say, “You boys had better stop that! Y’all are going to get hurt.”
readers may remember these lively little events. That is, if you are country born
and bred and in the over sixty crowd. It was all a part of my rural life while
growing up on a NE Texas farm near McLeod.
a bit of “country-boy” excitement out around the barn, corn cob fights were always
a lot of fun, a challenge for the accuracy of your “highly athletic” throwing
arm. Fun, that is if you didn’t get “cobbled” with a whelp on the head.
Billy Ray hit me with a cob and it hurts,” was a complaint moms often heard after
two or more highly energized teenage boys got into a fracas at the barn. The injury
was never very serious though, perhaps a red bump on the arm or a whelp on the
head for a day or two. Maybe the spot got a little sore. Nothing very serious
requiring a doctor’s attention. Unless of course, a combatant took a hit in the
eye or about the face. Which I can never remember happening, because we tried
hard to avoid head shots. On occasion though, anger might become valiant and the
aim inaccurate. So, dodging and ducking, we seriously protected the head.
play “warfare” was most always spontaneous; never a planned event. A couple of
kids would be doing chores around the barn, cleaning stalls, moving hay, picking
up trash and litter; even feeding the hogs! Or, maybe just passing by the barn
going elsewhere, to the pasture or to the peach orchard. The barnyard always had
lots of cobs scattered around. Why? Because that is where dried corn-on-the-cob
was stored to feed the farm animals.
Most animals, hogs for instance, will
eat the corn off the cob. For chickens and other fowl, we would shell it off the
cob, by hand or with a small mechanical, hand-cranked shelling device. But, like
large horses, if they are really hungry, they won’t take time to eat it off the
cob. With their powerful jaws they will eat the corn, cob and all. They leave
few cobs in their feed trough.
Occasionally there arose a riff, anger
or hurt feelings between kids and one might choose a corn cob fight to take out
emotions and settle those feelings. Other methods to vent hostility might be a
friendly wrestling match in the red Crimson clover or in the freshly mowed alfalfa
hay. Also, sometimes catching and riding a calf or two was a good pride “buster”.
But, Papa always said hard work was the best antidote. “Hard work is the best
medicine for a sick mind”, he said.
Finding a clean, fresh cob, one kid
might suddenly decide, “I’m going to pop him really good!” He picks the cob up
and throws it at the other kid. A clean, fresh cob like that is fairly light and
doesn’t hurt too badly when it hits you, especially at a distance of 10 to 15
yards. Sensing a threat, the other kid quickly moves away, putting a little distance
between them. Taking cover, he then finds a cob or two and retaliates. The fight
is on! It may last a few minutes until one gets hurt, surrenders, or until they
find other interest.
As the fight seriously progresses the supply of fresh,
clean cobs may run low. Ammunition then “up-grades” to the dirty, water and manure
soaked cobs. They are quite heavy and may weigh up to half a pound each. They
are easy to throw and will carry a good long distance. And are very effective
when the target is hit.
then defenses have been established and when a heavy, wet cob splatters on the
wall or a board near you, you are very happy you didn’t get hit with that one.
A little fun is had and no one gets seriously hurt. Negative feelings
November 1, 2010 Column