It was probably November of 1962. We lived in Hull, Mass., on the Nantasket Peninsula. The nor'easter descended on us, bringing about two inches of snow per hour for six hours. Now, twelve inches of the white stuff wasn't so bad, but the wind accompanying the crystals piled it up around anything that could catch it. So we had mounds of snow around some of the bushes.
Well, what do boys do after being cooped up in the house all night and all day after a beautiful blizzard rages around the neighborhood? You guessed it; we went out to frolic in the white, freezing playground!
What else do boys do in that stuff? They have snowball wars, and they never have to go to school to learn about it. It just comes natural.
And what else do boys do? They create games of target practice, and a moving target is better than a stationary target. And it gets even better; an unsuspecting moving target is the best kind.
I don't know who mentioned it first, but all five Linzey boys in the yard agreed – let's hit cars as they go by! We never put rocks in the snowballs, and we never packed them into ice-balls. Just compact snow. However, it was a wet snow, so they were heavy enough to travel a good distance once a Linzey arm released them.
We had a ball with hundreds of balls! Yes, brake lights came on, but the drivers figured nothing was hurt, and they moved on.
Then ... oh, the glory of it! One of us said, "A bus is coming!"
So we quickly packed six balls each, and got ready. As the bus cleared the trees, a barrage of well-timed and well-aimed, miniature, white cannonballs were released. Have you ever heard that a Linzey was a bad shot? If you've heard that, it wasn't true. Every window on that bus got one or two impacts, and you would've thought the Colonial Army had scored a major victory against the Redcoats.
Not thinking that the bus driver saw us, or even could have seen us, we hooped-n-hollered like we won the war. We Were GOOD!
Then, "Quick, another car's coming. It's black, and will be easy to hit."
That black car, with white markings on the side, cleared the trees just in time to meet up with another well-aimed barrage. But this car didn't follow the rules. It didn't keep going. It stopped. The red lights on its roof turned on.
"Oh no! It's a police car!" and we all ducked behind our snow fort.
A pair of black boots, accompanied by a policeman inside them, made crunching sounds in the snow as they came up the steps in front of the big ol house. The policeman inside the boots uttered the dreaded words, "You boys come out!"
WE WERE CAUGHT!
At 16 years of age, I was the oldest -- for some reason, I was always the oldest -- so I went first.
The visiting man in black, with a gleaming bright gold star on his chest, asked, "What'er you boys doin'?" (Dumb question!)
"Throwin' snowballs" was all I could muster up, and my throat began swallowing hard.
"Any rocks in 'em?"
"No sir." And we handed him several to crush and inspect.
"You want me to tell your father what you've been doing?"
"No sir." I quickly responded.
"Well, you better stop hitting cars and buses with them. Find other targets."
"Yes, sir." I was really glad he wasn't going to tell dad!
Then, as the policeman was walking down the steps, he turned, smiled, and said, "By the way, you boys are good shots."
No hoopin' n hollerin', but the biggest corporate sigh of relief was heard among us.
Amazingly, we didn't start blaming each other for getting caught, but we did revel in the fact that we didn't get arrested. What was even better, we proved that we were good shots. Even the policeman said so.
But did we learn anything from that event? Yes, we did. Irritating people or making them worry was not honoring the Lord.
There's nothing wrong with having fun, either as a kid or adult. But we need to be considerate of other's feelings. We knew we weren't damaging cars, but the drivers couldn't know it for sure until they stopped and inspected the vehicle.
We want our words and actions to bless others and honor Jesus Christ.
-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.