The Golden Weekend

Rick Ryckeley

For us kids, the golden weekend was the last weekend of summer. Not because it was the end of summer, but because it was the last weekend before school started. We had to cram all the fun of summer into only two days.

At our house, it began early with a pillow fight Saturday morning around 6 a.m. and ended with a massive pillow fight at midnight on Sunday. What happened in-between? Pillow fights, water balloon battles, swimming, bike jumping, and a few surprises are all part of this fun-filled end of the summer story brought to you by the kids from Flamingo.

Drinking two large glasses of water before bedtime insured I’d be the one to wake up early Saturday morning. After pillow pounding Twin Brother Mark, I snuck over and attacked Big Brother James and Older Brother Richard.

With the pillow fight quickly over, we fueled our morning with Mom’s breakfast of pancakes and bacon then were out the door to Neighbor Thomas’s house. Bubba Hanks, Goofy Steve, Ski, and the kid we all called Booger were already there preparing for the last water balloon battle of the summer.

Preston Weston, III, who lived over on the Duke of Gloucester soon joined us and helped in filling empty buckets with water balloons. Preston was the quarterback for our street football team and a dead shot when it came to hurling water balloons.

Soon, we were marching down Flamingo towards Down the Street Bully Brad’s house. Bully Brad and his gang of three would always ambush us along the way bombarding all with their water balloons. Win or lose, being pounded by water balloons on a hot summer day is a lot of fun. With buckets finally emptied, we called a truce, breaking for lunch of hot dogs, BBQ chips and Cokes.

Next up: the Saturday afternoon watermelon seed spitting contest. Bubba Hanks always won, but it didn’t stop the rest of us from trying. His record still stands at 10 feet. True summertime fun is juice of a watermelon running down your neck and spitting seeds all over the backyard. And to get rid of all that sticky juice, we’d just do flips off a rope swing into the ice-cold waters of Cripple Creek. That’s when the double dog dare usually happened.

Being as we were wet already, we dared one another to jump bikes across the creek. Zooming down Old Mrs. Crabtree’s driveway and through her backyard, we’d try to launch across using a makeshift plywood ramp. Only person to make it that entire summer was Goofy Steve.

Goof was taller and skinnier than any of us. Guess that gave him less wind resistance so he could jump further. But jumping across creeks wasn’t his only talent – Goof was the best dodge ball player on all of Flamingo. And was on our team for the Sunday after church dodge ball game.

The vacant lot across from Neighbor Thomas’s house was where we made a dodge ball pit. Really, we just stomped over all the weeds and started to play. Even Bully Brad and his gang of three joined in, but they could never get Goof out. Thanks to Goof, we won every year.

The rest of Sunday was filled with skinning trees (climbing up and then riding them back down to the ground), campfires, s’mores, and catching jars of lightning bugs.

Lightning bug night-lights were very important if you wanted to see who was sneaking into your room for the midnight pillow fight. The fight was never won because Dad always stormed in saying, “You kids get back to bed! Y’all got school in the morning.”

When he switched off the lights, our laughter followed him down the hallway. All of our Golden Weekends ended this way.

Here’s hoping all you kids out there enjoyed a Golden Weekend to celebrate your end of summer. If you didn’t … there’s always this weekend.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]