My week of walking Joanie’s dog, Joy, was over. She came back from visiting her aunt on Long Island. When I saw her she asked me if I had any problems in taking care of Joy while she was away. I told her that the poop patrol went well and that walking and playing with joy was fun for me. I also told her that if she needs any help in taking care of the dog for any reason, that I stand ready and available to do the job.
Joanie went on to say that her dad liked me because I was always on time. He also told her that he did not have to kill me since the dog did not have any poop accidents in the house. Phew! I was glad to hear that. I love that dog, I still get upset when I think about Joy going to the Vet to have his ears and tall cut so that he can look more like a Boxer. But that is out of my control.
I started walking up the block when I noticed a bunch of guys playing “kick the can”. We play this game when we don’t have a ball and have nothing else to do. Jimmy Pizza found an old spaghetti-O can near Nick’s sandwich shop. He called a bunch of our friends together to choose sides to play this game. Kick the can in our neighborhood, is played like any base ball game only difference is that you have a can instead of a ball and you don’t use a bat.
The kids from the Red Hook Projects that move here from The Bronx told me that the Kick the Can game they played was a combination of Ring-O-Leave-O and Hide and Go Seek. Which is a completely different game from what we know as “Kick The Can” game to be. In our neighborhood we use a can when we don’t have any money to buy a ball or when we can’t find a ball to fish out of the sewer.
Our game in Brooklyn has anywhere from four to six guys on a team. The team that’s up first will kick the can as hard as they could and run the bases. If the can flies up in the air and it’s caught by the other team playing the field, you’re “out”. When you kick the can it roils on the ground, the team playing the field has to grab it and either run to a base before you get there to tag you out or the player who picked up the can has to toss it to a team mate at the base for the out. If you beat the throw or the tag you stay on base waiting for your next team mate to kick the can. At this point all the baseball rules apply. If your team makes three outs the second team gets their turn to kick the can. Playing this game with a can instead of a ball can be dangerous. When a big kid kicks the can with all his might and it’s flying at you, you don’t have much time to grab the can to make an out. If you miss it, the metal can and will smack you in the face, arm or leg. I’ve seen kids playing this game get hurt pretty bad. Many kids are cut and bruised and run home bleeding and in pain. But it looks like Jimmy Pizza, Mike Tomato, Henry, Reno and the others are having fun. I don’t know if they will get to play much longer since the Spaghetti-O can they found is all dented.
I sat there watching them play for about ten minutes when they gave up the ghost. Then can was too crushed for them to continue the game. But the good news is that Jimmy’s team won the game 16 to 4. I said “hey jimmy, doesn’t look like your team had much competition?” “Yeah; we were playing against a bunch of pussies. These guys were so afraid to charge the can when we kicked it to them.”
I said “do you have any plans for this afternoon?” “We were thinking about going to the Clinton Movie House to see the Tarzan move. But most of the guys don’t have the cash for the move and treats. So it looks like we’ll head over to Coffey Park and play on the swings. I don’t know if any of these pussies will come with us?” I think I know why Jimmy was saying that because when we go to play Spiderman on the swings in Coffey Park, we stand on the swing like a trapeze and fly as high as possible just before we jump off the swing. We do this when we’re way up in the air and push our bodies towards the twelve foot chain link fence that surrounds the playground. At that point you better grab on to this twelve foot fence as soon as you hit it or you will fall about ten feet and crash into the concerte pavement below. If you miss and fall you will be lucky if you walk away with a couple of bruises. The kids that aren’t so lucky will wind up at Long Island College Hospital with broken bones. Then your father has to leave work and go to the hospital to get you, that’s when it really gets ugly
.About six guys agree to go to Coffey Park to play this Spiderman swing game. It also reminds me of Tarzan flying through the jungle grabbing on to trees and vines with his best friend Chita the Chimp. It took about fifteen minutes to walk to the park. When we got there we found that most of the swings were free. I think that a lot of kids must have gone to the Red Hook Pool to cool off instead of playing on these swings on this hot summer day. There are only a couple of teenagers doing some crazy stuff to impress some girls that are sitting there. I don’t get it why they will do all this crazy stuff just to make the girls smile at them. Anyway, we took turns on the four swings that are free. The best jumper turned out to be Pecker. He may look like a chicken but was no chicken when his long skinny body jumped and flew like Spiderman as he hit and grabbed onto the twelve foot fence. I was really impressed; he has this weird angry look on his face, like he was daring the fence to hurt him. After an hour of jumping like crazy people we left the park to head back to our neighborhood.