Ray Beal and I, as teenagers, used to terrorize the town of Leeds. Don’t misunderstand. We weren’t malicious, only mischievous. We didn’t destroy property; we just made noise. With half sticks of dynamite.
I don’t remember how we got the dynamite; I think Ray acquired it. There was some mining going on around the town, and maybe he knew where Western Gold and Uranium kept it stored. I suspect that its acquisition was somewhat outside the law, but I honestly don’t remember being too concerned.
We had a number of sticks along with primer caps and some fuse, and we cut them in half, put a primer cap on the end of about a foot of fuse (it looked like small black rope about an eighth of an inch in diameter) and inserted the cap and fuse assembly into the end of each half stick. Then at night we went around Leeds, on the outskirts, away from any buildings, animals, or people, and woke the town up with our fabulous firecrackers.
Willard McMullin was the town’s mayor, the owner of The Log Cabin Inn, a gas station and one room grocery, and he was partially deaf. He started hearing about those mysterious booms in the middle of the night and the rumor that we were responsible, and so he approached us without reproach.
“I haven’t heard a thing.” He said.
Ray said, “Of course not, Willard. You’re deaf as a post!”
“Well, I want to hear one.” He said.
So that night we wedged one of the dynamite sticks into a crook of two limbs of a peach tree he had in his front yard, and split the tree in two.
The next morning we wandered into the store.
“Did you hear that?” Ray asked.
“Didn’t hear a thing.”
But we heard plenty when we took him out and showed him his mangled peach tree.