Firecrackers and Exploding Cow Pies

We expect playful pranks from boys in their early teens because they delight in stretching the boundaries. Firecrackers offer many exciting possibilities to a creative thirteen-year-old.

My son, Joseph, along with a neighbour wondered what would happen if they lit a couple of firecrackers and threw them into the family’s country-style mailbox. The result was even funnier than they imagined as the metal door flew up and slammed shut again with a loud clang. Joseph and Riley doubled over with hoots of laughter.

Unfortunately, for the boys, who should drive by at that exact moment?

The principal from the local public high school.

When the two boys noticed a car had stopped, they hopped on their bikes in a frenzy, rode down the long, curved, laneway to Riley’s house and lunged through the front door.

However, that did not curtail this conscientious educator; he backed up his station wagon, followed the boys up to the house and rang the doorbell. The principle’s stern lecture mortified Riley’s mum and embarrassed the boys. Joseph sheepishly recounted his adventure at the dinner table that night and we just shook our heads.

That incident was never repeated by my son but firecrackers in the hands of one father led to sheer mayhem at our house a few years later.

We were barbecuing with a few other families. In the late afternoon, when the kids were getting restless and hungry, Pierre gathered the kids together, like he often did but this time he led them into the barnyard.

What did this fun-loving father do to amuse the throng of children who surrounded him?

Why he lit firecrackers and placed them in the middle of manure plops!

We all heard the squeals and roars of approval from the kids. Before we knew what was happening, Pierre was paying the kids who dared to stand the closest to the smelly, disgusting explosions.

We all shook our heads this time but smiled in spite of ourselves, wondering who was more mischievous, Pierre or the kids?


muddy-kidsThat was before we saw the kids close up. They were splattered with manure. Actually, the foul-smelling gunk that covered all the kids couldn’t really be called manure yet, it was fresh.

The other mother’s and I were desperate to bathe our kids before dinner but we simply rinsed out their hair, gave quick sponge baths and I scrambled to find clothes to fit everyone. Rhonda, Pierre’s wife, fumed the loudest about stained clothing and Pierre looking sheepish, helped clean up his four small children.


I must admit I had forgotten The Day Cow Pies Exploded until a chance meeting with an old friend triggered this memory, which might be best forgotten.

My grown children laughed in remembrance when I recounted this tale. I suppose that day is another example of the freedom, joy, and muck that a farm makes available to all playful kids, both short and very tall.

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