The story of how I tried to get my dad to quit smoking
or How I almost got myself killed one summer
Prologue:Being a young boy...a roustabout, and having 3 brothers..we managed to keep ourselves in trouble almost constantly...and if it is the job of kids to drive their parents insane...well...we got an "A" for our effort.
My father a Vietnam Combat Medic Vet who lost his right eye in combat when his APC got hit with an RPG and a piece of the M-16 machine gunners round that exploded in his magazine across from him tore off as shrapnel and hit him in the eye digging its way thru his nasal cavity and embedded itself in the back of his throat when he was leaning over to get a box of ammo out from under the track seat to give to the M-60 machine gunner who was trying to keep the VC pinned down in a pillbox across a rice paddy. (there's more to the story but this is the best summary I can come up with in such a short story)
My dad at the time was into the old muzzle stuffers and was active in the "Old Texas Army" re-enactment group...so he had ALOT of the old school smokin' thunder pole equipment. Since he was in the re-enactment group he grew his beard and mustache out to look even more "mountain man"
I was I believe still in Elementary school maybe 6th grade in Jr. High and at a ripe old age of 10 or 11ish I believe and we even then were being indoctrinated about quitting "smoking" thing, and was constantly berating my dad about quitting...
In my infinite wisdom I felt it was time to MAKE my dad quit smoking!
I managed to sneak a cigarette from his Marlboro 100's box and slink away to perform my dastardly deed, I meticulously pulled about 1/2 the tobacco out of the cigarette and got maybe 10 grains of his black gunpowder that he used to shoot his old .50 cal Thompson Center Hawken, and filled the cigarette up...it was too full to put any of the tobacco in it so I got a pencil and carefully tamped it down to a good 1/4" then meticulously placed each individual strand of tobacco back in the cigarette, unfortunately due to all this mechanical work the cigarette ended getting all crinkled up but I did my very best to get it as straight and clean as I possibly could...it looked "ok" in the eyes of a young non smoker. I snuck it back in his pack and after an hour or so grew impatient and wanting to see the result of my handywork started asking him repeatedly if he "wanted a cigarette"...the jig was up and he knew something was "afoul"
He said sure...and went out to the front yard, I made sure I stayed at least a good handful of yards away from him and waited for the fireworks...being a father now and knowing when my kids "were up to something" my dad found the crinkled cigarette...placed it to his lips and flicked his lighter and I gave a snickerdy snicker...he knew...but still decided to see what the hubub was about..he placed the flame against the end of the cigarette and gave a timid puff...nothing, then he decided to give it a good light and I could see from my vantage point the tip end glow red and start to light.
The black gunpowder touched off and the best description I can give is a "Mutual of Omaha" scene of a "grizzly bear emerging full charge thru the fog on the bank of a river" as my father after having a good portion of his formerly bushy beard and mustache with a large chunk of his eyebrows and bangs smouldering and smoking. Arms flailing, smoke billowing, and a growlish roar that let me know if he caught me I would show up on a milk carton or worse, so I turned tail and ran like a baby white tail with his puffy rear end in flapping in the breeze.
A few hours later after my dad calmed down enough not to pinch my little head off I came back home..he didn't kill me...but I did find out what the riot act was and that if I ever even so much looked at his black powder stuff again I would be found stuffed into a shoe box.
With all this new fangled safety stuff and seatbelts and airbags and you can't do this or that because it's DAAAAANGEROUS...well...It's a miracle we survived!
Too this day, when my father tells the story, he managed to close his only good eye just in time...and it flamed trimmed the majority of his face, he thought I put grass clippings or dried up leaves in it...and while telling my kids, my father gets this evil grin and chuckle and tell me "karma will get me" (he uses more colorful words like "paybacks a b....")
I'm glad I vape now!
And my wife tells me when my kids act afoul..that it's ALL MY fault!!!
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