By J.B. Salter
For The North Jefferson News
Editors note—the following article first appeared in the Sept. 13, 1990, issue of The North Jefferson News.
It’s been said that the more things change the more they remain the same.
This world would probably be a much nicer place if some things would change. Kids who grow up in the country or in a small town seem to be bound by some uncontrollable instinct to do the same things their parents did when they were kids.
If you put two or more boys together for any length of time, they’ll establish a club, dream up a few secret passwords, find some secret hideaway and start building a clubhouse. I don’t know why it happens but it does.
This irresistible urge always seems to hit boys while they all still think that girls are unfit company.
Back in the late forties, I was visiting a hunting and fishing buddy of mine, Glenn “Flossie” Leslie, who now lives in California, close to the Utah state line.
Flossie used to live on Cat Mountain, but it has since been renamed North Smithfield. Flossie and some of his buddies had started to build a clubhouse on a secluded hillside.
It seems to be almost universal that nobody ever finishes a clubhouse. They always seem to get busy with club activities and move in, usually without putting much of a roof on it.
Flossie’s clubhouse was hidden away in a little gully on a hillside. The easiest access to the club was from the mountain above.
This particular hot summer day we had on the uniform of the day, which consisted of a well worn pair of blue jeans, no shirt, no shoes and no sense at all.
Flossie suggested we ride a bicycle to the clubhouse from an old dirt road that ran along the ridge at the top of the mountain. It seemed like a good idea since he was going to pedal and I was going to ride on the handlebars. We pushed the old worn-out bicycle up the long hill until it leveled off.
After a short trip we arrived at the slightly worn trail that led to the clubhouse. Flossie stopped the bike and we stood looking down the steep trail that wound around small pine trees, stumps and bushes.
I was still sitting on the handlebars when Flossie causally asked me, “Do you want to ride down there?”
Just about the time I’d make up my mind to walk, Flossie lifted up his foot and away we went. At first, things seemed to be going alright, but suddenly we started to gain speed. I thought Flossie was just trying to scare me, so I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Slow this thing down, Flossie.”
The answer I heard as we dodged trees and stumps wasn’t exactly what I had wanted to hear. The most dreaded words I’ve ever heard were, “I’m pedaling backwards now.”
That old worn out chain had broken and we were off like a runaway train off Pikes Peak.
The worst part was that I knew we were going to have a terrible wreck, and since I was sitting on the handlebars, I’d be the first one to crash.
As I looked down the steep hill, I saw a monstrous patch of saw briars and one little bent over dogwood tree.
We centered and that little dogwood with the front wheel and sorta went fuzzy for a little while.
What actually happened was, after we hit the tree, I was catapulted straight up into the air and Flossie went forward head-first into the saw briars.
When I came back down, I landed on my back with Flossie underneath me.
We didn’t stop sliding until we got to the other side of the saw briar patch. I was stinging all over from the scratches, but poor old Flossie was in terrible shape. He took on that whole briar patch face-first. Flossie was sitting on his knees leaning back on his heels and making a terrible sound.
I was certain he was dying, or that at least he had the wind knocked out of him, but to my great surprise, he was only laughing about our ordeal.
We looked ourselves over and realized we weren’t really hurt and started back up the hill. Pushing and carrying what was left of the old bicycle.
As we dragged the bike up onto the old dirt road, the sun was setting in the West.
I looked at old Flossie and realized how appropriately he had been nicknamed, because his poor scratched-up ears looked like two red sails in the sunset.
To add an insult to my injuries, I never got to see Flossie’s Clubhouse.
By J.B. Salter