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Barrel of Fun

It's another funny memory by Randy today. :)

Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun, as a line in an old polka song goes that was a popular song back in the day, especially in Minnesota where I spent my youth. While this short story isn’t about beer barrels, we sure had a barrel of fun. It was the life before cell phones and video games, no computers, no internet, the good old days, I suppose. As kids in the north woods of Minnesota, we invented our own kind of fun. Most days at the lodge were spent on adventures in the woods, along the shores of Cass Lake. Taking my dad's boats out on the lake, fishing or trying to jump his new speed boat over sand bars, like they did in the James Bond movies. Building a tree fort with the Bauer boys in the tallest tree we could find, some 40 feet in the air was another adventure. All Fuel for another story someday. Anyway….

The lodge at Cass Lake was on the north shore, not many folks around, just a couple other cabins on the shore. People from my dad's factory could stay at the lodge for their vacations. The Bauer Boys were sons of one of the Foreman at the factory, so they came up to the lodge a few times each summer. Tommy was my age and Mike, my brother's age. Both adventurous, like Teddy and I, well okay, maybe crazy. We were The few and the Brave! or Just stupid kid’s having fun. The few and the brave just sounds better.

To make a short story long, that particular summer we found some old 55 gallon metal barrels in the dump behind our storage barn. They were empty now, but probably had been full of toxic waste at some point. To us four adventuresome boys, they were fixing to become a lasting memory, a barrel of fun and adventure. Not really sure how it all started or where our inspiration came from, but before long, the four of us were rolling those barrels around with our bare feet. As Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. More perspiration, that’s for sure. Little did he know just how hot those metal barrels were under bare feet, but bare feet gave us better traction. Off we went, four crazy boys rolling barrels down the dusty back roads. With a little practice, we gained better control and were able to maneuver and even roll them up and down the hills. You should have seen us racing those barrels down the road! Now there’s a new spin on barrel racing at it’s finest. We’d miss a step every now and then, someone would fly off and eat dust. Yet undaunted by our misfortune and the laughter of others, we’d get back on and ride again. First around the cabins, then down to the forks a quarter mile or so. The long dusty dirt road made a loop about three miles long that took us back around to the cabins, quite a haul for rolling a barrel under foot. Three miles, four, what’s a few more? I laugh now, but the challenge was on. Riding to the little town of Pennington, a little old country store with a post office. 5 miles down the paved road and what seemed like 50 miles back. Uphill both ways, of course, on blacktop. You can’t imagine how hot those barrels got. Keeping your feet moving was all you could do to keep them from burning. It was just craziness to walk away laughing with blisters on your feet, but that cold coke from the old cooler in the front of the store, 10 cents back then, just tasted better that way. The occasional honking horn and hollers from people passing by, somehow made it all worth it. What a hoot, can you imagine seeing four young boys rolling on barrels down the road?

Rolling out the barrels sure was a barrel of fun or maybe we were just a barrel of monkeys. Either way I hope you enjoyed another trip with me down memory lane. Life can get overheated sometimes so look straight ahead and keep your feet moving! Stay cool and have some fun, until next time I roll by.

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