Buddy . . . His Trials and Treasures
by Will Edwinson
Paperback, 5.5×8.5 in, 128 pages
Hats Off Books, February 2005
Do you need a little stress relief in your life? Travel back to the world of Buddy Crawford, a simpler, slower-paced world where Cokes were a nickel, movie tickets were a dime, and ten cents bought you a double-dip ice cream cone. These engaging, award-winning stories about a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s provide a relaxing respite from today’s fast-paced world. They may even revive old memories of your own childhood.
Follow Buddy and cousin Mont as they gather beer and pop bottles from the roadway barrow pits. Join him and his friends at the river swimming hole for a swim, or go fishing for carp in the canal. Experience the fun as he tours the countryside in an old Model T Ford with his friends. What better way to spend a relaxing two hours than immersing yourself in these stories?
Buddy is somewhat reminiscent of Tom Sawyer in that he quite often finds himself in hot water. Unlike Tom, Buddy’s misdeeds are without forethought. They happen because Buddy is … well … he’s just Buddy.
“The short stories in Buddy are delightful in every detail, evoking memories of childhood in an era now past. Approached through the innocence of youth, but garnished with the perspective of maturity, these recounted experiences bring back our own early memories of discovery. . . .”~ Trish Oak and Halli Stone, The Trish and Halli Show
“. . . . Buddy will remind you of your best friend, your mischievous brother, your son with a toad in his pocket and a missing front tooth, or the little boy who chased you on the playground and dipped your pigtails into the ink wells. Buddy will take a place in your heart.”~ Kitty Fleischman, Publisher/Editor, IDAHO magazine
About the author
Will Edwinson is a singer, entrepreneur, and former small grains producer turned writer. His other works include a political tale entitled A Halcyon Revolution. Edwinson lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Comments From the Author
We all have stories from our youth we like to tell our offspring. I used to tell some of these stories to my family at the dinner table or in the car while traveling on family trips. After much cajoling from my family members, I finally acquiesced and decided to share some of these stories with you the reader.
Excerpted From the Prologue
….I sat at my word processor putting to paper some of my boyhood experiences. I began by describing to my readers the era in which the stories were set and telling something of the country where I grew up. The adventures that follow are fiction based on real events in my own life. They are written from memory as best I can recollect after the passage of nearly sixty years. As it is with any storyteller, I have embellished where I felt embellishment was necessary to add interest.
The characters are based on real people who were part of my life during this period. Some of the given names have remained unchanged. The surnames, wherever used, are fictitious or are used fictitiously.
The Trials and Treasures of Buddy Crawford, I wrote, is a compilation of adventures in the life of a small boy in a simpler bygone era of ten-cent movie tickets, five-cent Coca-Colas, penny licorice sticks, five-cent Hershey bars, and ten-cent double-dip ice cream cones. These stories are set in a farming valley in the southeastern Idaho highlands during the 1940s. It is an era in America’s history when a rural town with a population of five hundred people—give or take ten—could support most of the services needed to sustain a full life.
State Highway 34 ran straight through the middle of Buddy’s hometown; within the town’s borders, it made up Main Street. Beginning at the north end, if you were to stroll down this street in the 1940s, the first building you would see would be the movie theater, where kids could buy a ticket for a dime and their parents could buy one for fifteen cents.
Next to the theater you would find one of the town pool halls where men—young and old—congregated to play cards, shoot pool, and discuss the latest news concerning the war. You would hear some singing President Roosevelt’s praises while others called him a warmonger who got the country into a war only to bolster the economy.
Moving on down the street you would come to a café and then the drugstore. The drugstore was one of Buddy’s favorite places to hang out because it had a soda fountain. If you had lived in those days, you would remember that soda fountains usually had gray marble countertops and wire-backed stools. You would remember that fountain clerks were known as “soda jerks” because they mixed drinks right in the glass using various flavored syrups and carbonated water from the fountain. You would also remember that hand-dipped ice cream was the main ingredient in thick creamy malts and milkshakes, ice cream sun dies, root beer floats, and twin-scoop ice cream cones.
Along the remainder of Main Street in Buddy’s little town was another pool hall, another café, Roghaars’s general mercantile, a clothing store, a five-and-dime store, two grocery stores, a liquor store, a blacksmith shop, and three car agencies. On one of the side streets were two farm implement dealerships, another blacksmith shop, a doctor, and a dentist. The town also supported two churches.
Last, but not least, there was a local attorney who was nearly poverty-stricken, because most people in those days settled their own grievances using common sense. His busiest time seemed to be when he would rescue the town wino from jail every Monday morning, or when he would file divorce papers for Mrs. Walton—she’d file a complaint against her husband once a month and then later withdraw it.
Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, and Gene Autry were the matinee idols of the day. Lux Radio Theater, Bing Crosby, Kate Smith, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Blondie and Dagwood, The Great Gildersleeve, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, and Bob Hope were the mainstay entertainers on the radio. And America was at war on the other side of the world.
On the whole, Buddy was a happy kid who enjoyed his boyhood days growing up in this tiny rural town in southeast Idaho, in spite of the times when bigger kids would tease him, or when the school bully would pick on him, or when he got into trouble with his parents, as most boys do. But Buddy overcame with no lasting scars. His summers were spent fishing, swimming, bike riding, horse-back riding, playing baseball, and going to the farm with Dad.
Come, journey back in time and join Buddy in … His Trials and Treasures.
The year was 1944; it was Buddy’s ninth summer, and today was the first day of summer vacation. Buddy lay in bed listening to the sunrise symphony of the birds. He had been awakened earlier by the ringing notes of their singing, chirping, and chortling as the harmonious tones drifted in through his open window.
He looked forward to lazy days of fishing and swimming in both the canal and his favorite river swimming hole the “23.” No one really knew why it was called the 23, except that someone years ago was supposed to have dropped a rope down into the pool with a weight tied to the end. When it reached the bottom it was marked, and it allegedly measured twenty-three feet to the bottom. Buddy still enjoyed going to the fields with his father, but he also enjoyed these times of just being a boy.
He continued listening under the comfort of the warm covers. As he did so, he thought to himself, I wonder if Mont or Lionel can go fishing with me today, I’d sure like to see if we can catch old Big Tom.
When he entered the kitchen for breakfast that morning, his father had already left for the farm. His mother told him, “Daddy decided to let you sleep in this morning. He thought you might like to play with your friends. Have you made any plans for today?”
“Well, how about if I go fishing?”
“I thought I’d go see if Mont or Lionel could go with me.”
“Okay, but you promise to be careful, and don’t fool around too much.” Mrs. Crawfrod knew that the boys would not confine their activities to just fishing, but would have to get in a little swimming as well. Buddy was a pretty good swimmer by now, but even so, his mother was still apprehensive of him going swimming with a bunch of boys, most of whom were older than he.
Buddy finished his breakfast, grabbed the gourmet lunch consisting of tuna fish sandwiches, bottled peaches, potato chips, a thermos of milk, and the chocolate cupcakes his mother usually baked for these occasions; picked up the willow fishing pole his dad had fixed up for him; and ran out the door yelling, “Ill see you later, Mamma.”
With the bill of his baseball cap tilted on the top of his forehead, exposing a lock of his natural platinum blond hair, he hurried on over to his cousin Lionel’s house to see if he and his older brother Monty could go fishing with him. Buddy really liked Monty. He was a gentle, kind soul, and though he was several years older than Buddy, he always treated Buddy with respect, just as if they were both the same age. Some people thought Monty was mentally retarded; actually, he just hadn’t quite caught up with his peers. He and Buddy got along fabulously, because Buddy never really paid attention to the fact that Monty was not quite as swift as the other kids his age. He accepted him as he was, and there was nothing Monty would not do for Buddy.
Buddy tore into the room just off the kitchen that was used as Monty’s bedroom. Lionel had left, and Monty was still in bed.
“Good morning, Mont,” Buddy greeted. That’s what everybody called Monty, because another member of their group was also named Monte, only he spelled his name with an “e” on the end, instead of a “y”
“How’s about you and me goin’ fishin’ in the canal today?”
Mont rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Sure, he said. “You bring any worms with you? We’ll need some worms.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I plum forgot about bait.”
Mont threw back the covers. “That’s okay, we can dig some here. My dad watered the garden last night, so there should be some good worms fairly close to the top.”
“Terrific!” Buddy exclaimed. “You got a shovel?”
“Yeah, but I gotta get dressed and eat something first.”
After Mont had dressed and eaten his breakfast snack of cold cereal and toast, he walked out to the garage and came back with a spade and a can.
“Good show, Mont. Let’s get to it. You dig and I’ll pick the worms out of the dirt,” Buddy said.
It was easy digging, so it wasn’t long before they had harvested a big can full of nice, fat juicy worms. “Boy, these oughta make the fish smack their lips,” exclaimed and excited Buddy. “Come on Mont, let’s get goin. I woneer if we’ll be lucky enough to snag old Big Tom, today.” Big Tom was the name they had given to an old carp that resided in the canal. They had been trying to catch him for two summers. They figured he must be at least four feet long and weigh fifteen pounds or more.
It was a warm lazy day on the canal bank. Buddy was studying the fishing pole Mont had brought. “Isn’t that one of you Dad’s good poles? Did you ask him if it was okay to use it today?”
“Yes, it is, Buddy. And no, I didn’t ask him, because I didn’t know we would be going fishing until you came over to my house this morning and asked me to go with you. So I didn’t have a chance to ask him.”
“Boy, I hope nothin’ happens to it, Mont. I wouldn’t dare use one of my dad’s good poles without asking him.”
“Nothin’s going to happen, Buddy. And besides, we’ll be home before Dad gets’ home, and he’ll never know I borrowed it.”
“Well, okay. It’s your neck, but I’d sure hate to lose a fishin’ partner because you get grounded for not asking to use that pole.”
“Will you relax, Buddy? Nothin’s gonna happen. I’ll be real careful.”
They had their poles anchored, and Buddy and Mont were lying on the bank chatting about this and that, not paying much attention to anything, when Buddy cried out, “Holy smokes, Mont! There goes your fishing pole tearing lickety-split down the canal. Quick, grab it. Grab it!”….