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Yes, even though I have this movie on DVD, I like to watch the first episode on the cable TV channel that runs a 24 hour marathon of the classic and I'll likely tune in for the last one tomorrow at this time, not sure why, just one of my quirks! That aside, there's a classic scene where the boys dare one of their comrades to stick his tongue on a frozen flag pole, something I've never known in Arizona, but it caused me some years ago to write and publish a story that I thought I'd share here, FREE of charge! :p I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 2: The Flagpole

I'm sure most everyone has watched the movie "Christmas Story"; you can hardly avoid it on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day as it runs in a loop on cable/satellite TV. The one scene where the boy is dared to stick his tongue on the frozen flag pole, the bell rings, the kids run to class and leave him behind, all the while looking out the window as the police and fire truck show up always reminds me of a story from my youth. Forget about any frozen flagpoles in Somerton Arizona, that never happened, but what did probably provided more insight to the realities of life (and death) to a bunch of kids than any school book could, at least it did for me. I'm not sure today what grade I was in 4th or 5th, but we were in rooms along the east of the main building and the windows faced out toward the street. Across from the school on what would have been a corner house, there lived a man who's name I can't recall, but remember to be quite large (perhaps 300lbs.), well sadly he died in the house, in his bed in fact. Unless it was really cold weather and those old steaming metal radiators were fired up and waiting to scald the crap out of some unsuspecting kid, the classroom windows would be open for fresh air. This particular day, the whispers from the kids along the window view started; "It's Stacy's (that’s me) dad the policeman over at that house"…. which is about the time the teacher officially lost control of the class but did not realize it at the time!

After our initial scolding to "NOT LOOK OUT THE WINDOW", we of course continued to look out the window with craned necks that likely kept Chiropractors across the country in business for many, many years later. Back to the action; my dad goes inside the house and walks back out, makes a radio call, drives away for awhile, then returns, but this time is joined by a hearse. Two guys get out, one I immediately recognize to be a family friend, a funeral director and he talks to my dad for a bit. Under the now watchful eye of untold kids in all the east-facing classrooms, the hearse-team breaks out a big wheeled gurney and goes into the house. After a few minutes, they come out with what looked to be a big black bag on the gurney, load it up into the hearse and head out; my dad shuts the door and quickly drives away himself, show's over…..well not so fast. About 30 minutes later, one of the Town's big trash trucks pulls up and 3 guys get out, the boss I recognized to be a man named Manuel who ran maintenance crews for the Town. So they have a brief talk, head to the house and go in, then IMMEDIATELY RUN OUT, not stopping at the truck, but into the street, one of them clearly throwing up… Whoa Nelly, this is great stuff! No matter the fascinating history subject, sentence structure exercise or writing of prose that might have been on the mind of those teachers, the students were only focused on what was going on across the street!

Okay, it seems our 'heroes' have regrouped by the truck, but this time with pitchforks and bandanas tied across their faces, cool beans baby! Looking like a team of Navy SEAL farmers, they cautiously approach the house again and disappear out of view for a minute, then WHAM out the door they fly, back out to the street; likely the most animated bandana-shedding, pitchfork-tossing, wild-puking trio that's ever come together for such a momentous event, YEAH (that's what all the boys yelled anyway, YEAH)! Okay, I missed the next part because our teacher had all the boys lined up to stand in the Cloak Room, but from what I understand is that Manuel tried to rally his team, but they refused to go in, leaving the leader to do it himself. Because of the large number of boys in the Cloak Room (an unprecedented number at one time), I was released and ran to the window. I was immediately briefed by a girl (who I truly believed to be a goddess back then!) as to what I had missed; just then Manuel bravely reapplied his bandana, refused a pitchfork from one of his weak assistants and went into the house, we awaited his return with baited breath!

Then here it was; Manuel in all his glory, single-handedly carrying an indescribably gross mattress up in the air, running toward the truck and without stopping, threw it up inside the back and then threw up everything he still had inside himself right on the street! Granted, this probably isn’t the most appropriate subject to write about, but for an impressionable kid of that age, especially a boy, well it simply didn't get any better than that! Even my mom talked about it that night as she was working at the school and they saw the same thing. So, my mom and I asked my dad what the real deal was, which we clearly knew to be a death, but we wondered what he was discussing with the funeral director. As I said, the now deceased man was very big to begin with, but had apparently died a couple of days earlier and had 'grown' exponentially since that time. WelL, dad, who had known this mortician since he was a baby, told him he'd never be able to get him in that bag. Undeterred by the challenge, he was an experienced funeral director and knew how to handle such things, which will remain unmentioned, but I'll say it didn't help Manuel at all with his mattress task!

I remember the house was left with all doors and windows open for several days, there was no concern of theft, the 'scent' was so unpleasant the idea being that it would be safe. Good ole Somerton. Since those days I've experienced many 'challenging' aspects of life and these early lessons definitely helped, but there are many times I'd have simply opted for putting my tongue on a frozen flagpole!
 

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A classic mate enjoy...

thewelshm
 

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The Christmas Story always takes me back to childhood... sooo many things that I can relate to, my old man was not unlike the Dad portrayed, they had the same idiosyncrasies.

And who doesn't like the "major prize award"..... the leg lamp, from Frageelay!

The other modern classic that's also a "must" for us is "Polar Express".
 
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