When I was 6 years old, my friend eh eh “Tammy” stole a pack of her Grandma’s cigarettes that were sitting on the window ceil. I can remember her Grandma saying a few choice words that morning, while looking for the pack of missing cigarettes. After 10 minutes of searching high and low, she headed to the store to buy another pack and we headed to the barn to smoke our first.
For reasons unknown to us, maybe boredom or just wondering what it was like to smoke a cigarette, we headed out to the barn and lit one up. We were 6 years old. I can’t imagine my 6 year old doing something like this today. I still hold his hand to cross the street. But way back when, we ran around barefooted, explored the back country and the world was our oyster. If you had a bike and a buddy, you ruled the world.
There were 4 of us in the barn that day. We had a “look out man” a “cigarette lighter”, a “cigarette smoker” and one, whose job was to double dog dare us into more shenanigans than we were prepared for.
The barn was creepy. It was full of huge pieces of meat hanging to dry from the rafters; there were 40 or 50 jars of can goods (green beans, slimy okra and tomatoes) sitting on the shelves and about 10 jars full of something clear, not identified at this point.
The barn had a dirt floor; between the smoking and coughing our lungs out, my friend “Sara” placed a jar full of clear liquid in the middle of the dirt floor and double dog dared each of us to pee in the jar. Sounded reasonable to me! One by one, each girl pee-ed in the jar. NO problem.
When it came my turn, I wasn’t one to loose a Double Dog Dare, I mean, I AM a Southern Girl and you can’t back down from those.
As I was squatting down to pee in the jar, one of the girls lit a match to light her cigarette, something we had all done. But this time, as I squatted down to pee, she flicked the match into the jar. As if in slow motion . . . the match hurled toward the clear liquid. When the match hit the jar, the force of the BLOW shot me out the front door. I just remember holding on to my pants as I flew through the air. I had no idea what happened, I was just IN . . . The AIR.
When I hit the ground, I flew across wet grass as I scrambled to pull myself together. When I got myself in order, I realized the barn was ON FIRE!! Two of the girls ran, one was on fire and I (sorry to say, at 6 was scared to death) I ran too. I ran home as fast as I could.
My mom, barely 23 years old herself, looked at my smutty little face and singed eyebrows and said: Did you have ANYTHING to do with this? I froze in fear and said: “NOoooo!” And that was the end of that.
By the time the fire department arrived, it was too late. The barn had burned to the ground and my mom never mentioned the incident again. I later learned the jars of clear liquid contained 100 proof liquor, Moonshine, to be exact. Did you know that when Moonshine ignites, it produces a Blue Flame. That explains what I saw when I flew out of the barn that day.
Tammy’s Grandpa had hidden it on the shelves. It almost killed us. As a matter of fact, no one ever mentioned the incident again. Grandpa kept in on the down low because he was hiding Moonshine, and we kept it on the down low for fear of going to jail or WORSE, getting our butts whipped.
Little things can turn into big things. I mean, I was just bored that day and we went from stealing cigarettes and smoking them, to burning down a barn and running for our lives.
It’s important to have a Life Plan, goals to strive for. I didn’t wake up that morning and think: “I’m gonna smoke a cigarette. But I woke up with NO PLAN and ended up following others who DID have one.
Where do you want to be in 5 years, Mentally, Physically, Financially, Spiritually? Are you gonna let people peer pressure you into things, or are you gonna be the Peer Pressure?
Know what you want – and go for it; otherwise, all it takes is one person to “Double Dog Dare YOU” into something you really didn’t want to do in the first place; and then small lies becomes big lies and the truth ends up on the “down low” and you end up on the side lines of life – missing opportunities and wishing you had stayed true to yourself. Send me your story! I Double Dog Dare You!