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I hate like the dickens even to bring this up but i'm old enough to remember when radio was the big deal...no one had even heard of a TV in our neck of the woods. Except when the radio serials were on in late afternoon...like I love a Mystery, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Buck Rogers, The Armstrong Boys, and the like, we entertained ourselves by rounding up our buddies (no girls allowed, thank you very much) and playing softball, going fishing, playing marbles, or even jumping off stuff...almost anything would do. I remember one day we decided to see how long we could walk along the top board of a wooden fence; that quickly moved into jumping off the fence, and finally to jumping off the garage roof onto the lawn, about a 10-foot drop. Crazy as that sounds we did it for about an hour or so...lemme tell ya, I was darned sore the next day, from my feet to my ankles, to my knees, to my hips, to my shoulders, well you get the idea, my eyeballs even hurt. This poor body was wracked with pain for a couple days. Course none of us would readily admit how sore we really were...no sissies in this crowd, no sirree.
We went fishing at Triangle Lake in North Portland. It was where the great Vanport flood of 1948 took place. Over 20.000 people literally ran for their lives, including our family ('cept when we stopped to pick up my spilled marble collection)...but that's another story to come. I sure don't wanta lose track of my real story here today...kid's stuff. Where was I...oh, yes, we wuz really lucky to have Triangle Lake so nearby...only about a 2 mile ride on our bikes. Some brave soul had tied about a 30-foot rope to a tree limb and we would swing out from a 10-foot high ledge and drop off into the lake....now I'm sure you can 'preciate how much fun that wuz...heck, we took along our lunches so's we could play all day there if we wanted. Sometimes one of the gang would bring his kid sister along cuz he was watching over her that day...but it was several years more before we 'preciated the wonder of having a girl in our midst. Nope, I ain't goin' off in that direction now either...just be patient, you'll see there's lots more to come on that score!
Anyway, one day we discovered some wild blackberries had ripened so we took to working our way through the patch gettin' he good ones. After filling our bellies and notin' as to how our hands were now deep purple from the berries, of course we had to get back to the swimming hole to clean off. We wuz fine until the next day when we learned something certain that we had indeed walked into a nest of nettles gettin' them blackberries. You haven't lived until you've tangled with nettles. Nettles are sneaky little light green vines just oozing with stickers that have a nasty poison in them...sorta like poison oak or poison ivy, but maybe even worse. Needless to say, we didn't go blackberry picking in that spot again for awhile...well, until we couldn't resist them blackberries no more, so we got some long planks we found nearby to tramp down the bushes so as to avoid them nettles.