I think I've mentioned about being so poor and having to either make our own toys, or have them made, usually by Dad.
Well, I remember one time, somewhere Dad got a hold of a steel hoop that was approximately 6 to 8" in diameter. He fashioned a "TEE" on the end of a little round stick, something like a broom handle.
He showed me how to pick the hoop up with the Tee and nudge it into motion, never touching it with my hand. He then showed me how to guide it, turning it from side to side, how to get it across a little creek, how to fish it out of the water, and how to stop it. How to start it.
Man, I was walking in tall cotton! I had me a set of cap pistols and holsters, just like Roy Rogers, one for each side that someone had handed down to me, a little straw cowboy hat, and a Marshalls badge that Dad had fashioned out of the bottom of a coffee can. Then, I had my hoop and stick. Heck, who needed a horse when one had a hoop and stick?
I was one dude with a setup. A little friend of mine also had a set similar to mine, but his was all store bought. But, he didn't appreciate it because he hadn't gotten his like I did. And he didn't take care of his stuff like I did. Mine was hard to get.
Well now, I pushed that hoop everwher'. (Notice the spelling? That was the way we sed it.) And I could fairly make that thing sing, and go around in circles, and spin, and jump, and just about anything I could think of.
I ran with it everywhere I went while we lived at that place. It was a place way south of Rector, and I loved it there. Good sandy soil, a nice house, with pigs, and chickens, and I even had an old dog (a little Feist named Ricky). I felt like I was the richest kid in the world.
One day, I was coming from my friend's house pushing my hoop, and stubbed my toe. And it was a good one too! (I'm talking about the stub . . .).
I had caught it on a root or something, and pulled the skin down from just under the toenail, to where it was hanging off the bottom of my big toe. Talk about hurt! Man, that more than hurt!! But that's another story for another time! (It's the next story matter of fact!)
So, I began to hobble home, a carryin' my hoop and stick. Heck, I was too tough to cry! Roy Rogers didn't cry, and I wasn't 'bout to neither, especially, since I was sheriff! Suddenly, a gust of wind took my hat.
Now, in importance, next to a Sheriffs guns, and his badge, was his hat! He had to have his hat! And that ol' wind done took mine and had whisked it across the field. I dropped everything, and took off after it. Right across Dad's fresh plowed cotton field. I was running with everything I had, but the hat was going further away by the Moment.
I had been warned many times, to never, ever go across the road. But, this time, I did not heed the warning. There was a fence-row just on the other side of the road, and my hat had lodged there. Mom or Dad were nowhere to be found. Dad was off on a tractor somewhere, and Mom was at the house. This was an emergency!
Heck, my hat was worth a paddling anyway. So, I looked both ways, and dashed across the road, got my hat, put it on my head and pulled the drawstring tight, looked both ways, and dashed back across the road.
And there stood Momma. Oh my God! And she saw me cross the road! Oh my God! She looks mad! Oh my God!, am I ever gonna get it!
I started crying (even though I was still Sheriff), and then hurriedly reached down and put my sheriffs badge in my pocket. Heck, a sheriff can't cry! And sheriffs ain't supposed to get a licking either! I knew what was coming, and sure enough, she had a switch. Oh man, this is gonna hurt!
But, I didn't get a bustin' but I sure enough did get a good tongue lashin' . . . all the way home. Come to find out, Mom had seen my hat blow off, and me a running across the field a trying to catch it. She knew I was gonna cross that road, and the reason for it. She'd also seen me look both ways, both times I crossed it.
What did you think? That I was gonna let my hat go just to save a whoopin'? Heck no!! The skin on my back side would be OK, but my hat, well, Dad didn't have enough money to buy me another'n!