You can drink from the garden hose and live to tell about it

Publish Date: 
May 12, 2014
By Rick Fairless

Back in the 1960s, when me and Ran were 8 and 9 years old, we used to leave the house around 6 a.m. on the weekends and go fishing from sun up to sunset. We would ride our bicycles about three miles to the ponds in the back woods of Mr. Carpenter’s land. We would pack a bologna sandwich, a bag of chips and a Dr Pepper. Imagine that today, leaving home before daylight and being gone until dusk. Remember, we didn’t have any stinking cell phones back then. Just me and my brother, 8 and 9 years old, and you better believe that we took care of each other. Ma didn’t worry about us, but she did have one rule: “When you see the sunset every day, that’s a sign from God that it’s time for Rickey and Randy to come home for supper.”

Imagine that today -- leaving home before daylight and being gone until dusk. Remember, we didn't have any stinking cell phones back then.

Lemme tell ya about the school system in 1960s Dallas. Us boys had to wear our hair short. It couldn’t touch the collar of our shirt. We had to wear a collared shirt every day and we had to tuck it in. We couldn’t wear blue jeans or short pants or sneakers to school, and I didn’t know anybody who ever wore shorts after the age of 5 years old back then. If you got in trouble at school, you got sent to the principal’s office and the boys got “licks” with a big wooden paddle. Then they called your parents, and my Dad gave us worse than that! Guess what, we didn’t want to act the fool in school because the price we had to pay was way too high!

So, yes it’s true that the 1960s didn’t have the Internet, or Facebook or cell phones or video games, but we didn’t give a hoot! We never wanted any indoor activities during the daytime hours. Daytime was for playing football and baseball, or climbing trees, or fishin’ for crawdads, or Coke bottle hunting, or mumbley peg or even just riding our bikes and exploring.

At night, right after supper, and after me and Ran did the dishes, we would shoot baskets in the back yard under the porch light while listening to our transistor AM radio. On special occasions, my Dad would make homemade ice cream on the back porch with a hand cranked ice cream maker. And guess who hand cranked it? Yep, me and Ran! 

You young people probably think we had it pretty tough. Heck no, we didn’t. The 1960s were the happiest times of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the cell phones, computers and flat screens in the world. Siri who?!