I still remember it like it was yesterday...the worst trouble I ever got myself into when I was a kid.
My best friend, Gary, and I were hanging around his house one summer day. We had these two little cap guns that shot paper caps. Each cap was actually a strip of red paper with a tiny dot of firecracker gunpowder in it. We would squeeze the trigger and the gun would "fire" with a loud bang. It was great fun!
After a while, we were tired and bored. So we walked through the garage. In that garage, Gary's father had stored two old cars that leaked oil. The garage was empty...but those oil stains were everywhere.
For some reason, we got the bright idea to stretch the paper caps across the oil stains and light the paper with a match. When the paper burned across the oil stain, the gunpower would bang loudly and the oil stain would burn. We kept stamping out the fires with our sneakers. We were having a great time laughing and scorching our sneakers!!
After a while, I went home for lunch. When I came back later, Gary's mother met me at the door. I have never seen any adult that angry. I thought she was going to hit me! She told me she found the almost empty box of matches and that Gary had told her what we had done. She told me she was on her way to call my mother and that I had better head straight home. [Actually, at that moment, I thought about running away to Africa.]
When I got home, I ran straight to my mother to try and tell her the story first. Too late!! She was glaring at me and talking on the phone to Gary's mother.
We both got some pretty hard words from our fathers. We also got two weeks of being grounded...in the summer! In my family, "grounding" means no leaving the yard, no company, no phone calls, no TV, and I had to go to my room if relatives came over. I was bored out of my skull for those two weeks.
But I sure learned my lesson. And to this day I still wonder how we didn't blow up the garage or seriously hurt ourselves!