The loss of a field and birth of a crater brought new adventures—king-of-the-hill and the not-for-the-faint-of-heart “dirt clod wars.” The huge mounds of dirt piled on either side of the hole were a natural draw for climbing. When somebody clambered to the top, the only logical thing to do was to try to push him down the hill and take his place. Laughs and name calling (usually rife with references to various body parts) emanated from the “king,” while the failing conquerors would roll down the hill, laughing themselves silly, and jump up and charge the mound again.
Then, inevitably, someone would pick up a dirt clod and fire at the seat of the king’s Levis. In the blink of an eye two groups would square off, one on each mound, flinging dirt clods recklessly. At the battle’s end we would compare welts and trade insults, laughing all the way home to our respective medicine cabinets, ready to doctor our wounds with Merthiolate, the red antiseptic liquid that we called “monkey blood”—which packed a nasty sting along with a badge of honor.
No other time of year combined fun and mischief the way late October did. We moved quickly through the obligatory Halloween costume selection