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A late night surprise

There was never a dull moment in the lives of my siblings and some of our friends when we were growing up as early teens in the 1940s and 1950s.

More often than not, we could be found in the cotton and cornfields hoeing, plowing or picking during daylight hours. Otherwise, we could dream of going fishing or swimming during a rain break or pulling a prank on some unsuspecting victim anytime at night.

As 14 and 15-year olds, owning our own car or borrowing a family car was out of the question. Therefore, we were left to our own imagination how we could use our foot power to have some fun without getting caught.

We wanted to observe the reaction of a motorist to a purse, billfold or overnight bag lying in the highway. To do this, we attached the planted object (a bag worked best) to a stout length of twine, stretching it across the highway and underneath a branch culvert. Our gang of four or five onlookers waited for a car or truck to stop. As the driver stopped to get out and get a closer look at the bag, we’d quickly pull it off the highway and into the culvert.

There was no bag visible to the motorist, ever though some of them would check in the grass on both sides of the road. After the vehicle left, we’d have a big laugh and return the bag to the highway.

The prank worked precisely for a several times before it ended unexpectedly. A driver of a convertible slowed down and then struck the bag before we had time to retrieve it. His car dragged the bag several feet before it stopped. Then, he jumped out and grabbed the bag, string and all. He could be heard yelling, “There’s no need to run, I know who you are,” as we ran as fast as we could.”

An hour later, we returned to the scene but found no bag. We walked 200 yards to a service station to buy a Coke. The owner removed the bag from behind the counter and 

asked if we wanted the bag back. As we claimed the tattered remains, he laughed and suggested that we get rid of it and find a different way to have fun.