When my parents bought a house way up on top of South Walnut Street in St. Albans, I was nine years old. And at the end of the street was a cul de sac but beyond that were woods—woods that I would love to explore and come to know. Guess I should add that boys far outnumbered girls on this street, which on my part seemed like a good thing to me because I was boy crazy. Being boy crazy seemed to be the norm for most girls my age but on my part, I had to have a girlfriend with me when I was around boys: It was my safety net of sorts.
Aside from the fact of being head over heels in love with the boy next door, I knew the rest of the boys—some well and some not so well. It was the ones I knew “not so well” that got me in trouble one hot summer day. I had walked up to the cul de sac to sort of get away from my house and thought that there would be a bunch of kids hanging around that I knew well. Wrong.
Those boys I knew “not so well” were in mass on that day; heaven only knows what they had been doing or had done. I decided to turn around and go home when I heard my name being called; turned around only to be motioned to come nearer to them. A sense of fear set in me but being inquisitive, I approached them cautiously for some were a lot older than me and I didn’t know what they wanted. Right there and then, I should have trusted my gut instinct but decided to throw caution to the wind and walked up to them.
“Wanna go into the woods with this paper bag and get a snipe?” one older boy asked me. “What’s a snipe?” I asked honestly. “Oh it’s a neat thing; you’ll see.” “What do I have to do?” I asked. “Just take this bag, open it up and go into the woods and wait” he told me. “Wait and a snipe will come and get in the bag” he added. “Do I have to go alone in the woods with that bag?” I asked. “Oh yes; if you don’t, the snipe won’t come out.” At this point, I wanted female reinforcement but there was not one girl around except me.
“Okay. I’m in” was my reply. I grabbed that paper bag, tramped off into the woods, put the opened bag on the ground of the woods and waited. Waited more. Waited longer. Nothing came out and into that bag. Nothing. Waited a lot longer. Looked at trees. Looked around. And that’s when I heard those boys laughing so loud that it echoed and that’s when I learned that I had been had.
Feeling totally stupid, I had that paper bag crushed in my hands and when those boys howled with laughter, I ran all the way home. I didn’t know whether to tell my parents what had happened, to cry or laugh but the boy next door came out and asked me what was wrong. I spilled it all out to him: He told me not to feel so badly for it had happened to him once too. “Cheer up” he said. “There is no such thing as a snipe: It doesn’t exist.” “I sort of guessed that” was my reply “but still I was afraid of what one was or if it got in the bag, what would it do. But when I heard those boys laughing, I knew I had been tricked” I told him.
His words comforted me to the nth degree. “Thanks” I said. “Welcome” he replied.
At that moment, I knew I would be wiser the next time—should the next time happen. My parents were told of what happened to me and both of them said they had been tricked with the “snipe hunting” too when they were kids. “I’m not alone” I thought to myself; others have had it happen to them too.”
But thinking you’ll be wiser sometimes throws a, curve for I would find that much later on as a teenager or an adult, I found myself being gullible to “snipe hunters” disguised in different forms and the object was not a snipe—the object was to be tricked, fooled or thrown into a situation not wanted.
The moral is: If you think something feels wrong, don’t do it. It’s that little voice inside of you that tells you “No.” I would be guilty over and over until I finally learned to be cautious and cautious of everything. Maybe it’s not a good way to be but considering how things are in today’s world, it’s how it has to be. Just don’t go “snipe hunting:” Trust me on that.
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