My brother will turn 40 on 9/11. When my sister turned 40 my oldest daughter and I went down and wrapped her house with black streamers. In Texas we call it wrapping houses but I know in some other places it's called rolling or TP'ing. We also decorated her car with some 40’s stuff I picked up at Party City. I was actually depressed on her 40th because I knew that meant I was getting closer to 40. Now I'm sweating bullets because my brother turning 40 means my turn is just on the horizon. (Ok, 3.5 years away, but close enough)
My brother has grown into a very responsible man with a wife and four children. He has a great job and beautiful home. Looking back, oh, about 25-30 years ago, I'm not so sure that anyone would've envisioned him to be where he is today. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a petty thief or juvenile delinquent. He was just the life of the party and full of surprises. We lived in a small town and pretty much ran the roads on both foot and bicycles, even after dark. My brother had lots of friends in our neighborhood and they were full of mischief. I was fortunate enough to get to tag along sometimes, when my mom insisted just to shut me up.
Pre-high school my brother and his friends had a few ways to pass the time on those boring summer nights. For the record, I am a semi-responsible adult and no longer condone the following behavior, but it sure was fun at the time! There was the tennis ball game where we would hide behind a house and throw a tennis ball at cars that were stopped at the stop sign. Yeah, I know, we could've caused an accident, but the car wasn't actually moving at the time so was it really that bad? Although I must admit if I were stopped at a stop sign and heard a thud like that I'd probably poop in my pants and drive straight into oncoming traffic. The worst consequence we suffered from that particular prank was when one guy got out of his car madder than hell, spotted us and started running our way. I don't remember how I managed to clear that six-foot wooden fence and make it home in all of three minutes, but I did. I’ve heard adrenaline can have that effect. I think that might've been the last time we ever played that particular game again. My favorite prank was one we called "Purse". Ironically, this was staged at the same stop sign location. The boys rummaged through the closets for old purses to use. They’d lay the purse in the road under the streetlight in plain view of the stopped cars. Typically, it was supposed to tempt the person to open their door and reach for the purse. I think they played it two different ways, one with dog poop inside and one without, sometimes with fishing string attached, sometimes without. Sometimes they’d pull the string and freak the driver out and other times they’d just leave it alone with the poop inside. I was only allowed to play on occasion, but when I did my heart would pound as we hid quietly in the bushes. I know I could hardly breathe. I was having fun but terrified at the same time. I do remember one guy who stopped, grabbed the purse then drove off but slammed on his breaks. He opened his car door yelling profanities (understandable) and threw the purse back out onto the street. Can't say I blame him! I think that might’ve inspired another night of me running home like a bolt of lightning. The craziest prank of all (I never actually participated with this one) was the stuffed dummy that they made. It was wearing a shirt, blue jeans and work boots. They would hang it/him from a rope over a tree and drop him down when cars approached the stop sign. However, they used a different stop sign that had bigger trees! (Mom, please don't ground me for putting this on the internet! Don’t worry, the statute of limitations has run out)
High school was just one big good time. His senior year he was voted Most Handsome, Most Popular and Mr. GPHS. He was the life of the party and everyone loved him. All of the cops in our small town knew him well, but loved him. He never got into any “real” trouble. I'm sure there were times when my parents worried about his future at the rate he was going, but he turned out to be way more than okay. As a matter of fact, I occasionally run into old friends of his/ours who have seen him around, and they often ask me when he became so serious and grown up. Oh, he still likes to have a good time, but he’s long outgrown those wild and crazy days. After all, he’s almost 40!!