A friend was showing me through a barn on his property one day. It was a warm summer day. Kyle and Chuck were about eight and twelve at the time. The barn was beautiful. It hadn’t been a working farm in years. The lower part of the barn was used to store a sailboat if I recall. The upper part was swept clean and used for social gatherings. It was quite a place.
The barn was empty except for a super-soaker water squirt gun over in the corner. It was loaded. Kyle picked it up and I knew he would eventually have to shoot someone with it. You can only resist so much temptation when you are twelve.
Across the width of the barn almost from one side to the other was a stainless steel trough. Our guide explained that during a gathering it was filled with ice and cold drinks. I figured they were probably not all Cokes.
Just before we slid the big door closed and Kyle looked at me with a sinister look in his eye. I winked and he nailed Chuck with a long stream from the Super Soaker. Chuck was good-natured and took it with a laugh.
Our guide closed up the barn and we stood and talked for a while. Then we got in the car to go. “What is that smell,” someone said.
“I think it’s you Chuck.”
“What is it? It smells like sour apples…”
All at the same time it occurred to everyone that the Super Soaker was not loaded with water. Little Chuck’s tee shirt was soaked with old beer. That was a little tough to explain to Mom but it was worth it. For years whenever we think about that we enjoy a good laugh.
It’s probably a good idea to remember that things are not always as they appear to be. Maybe until you are especially sure it’s the right thing to do you should “hold your fire.”
Kenneth L. Pierpont
Riverfront Character Inn International Conference Center
July 23, 2003