Bank Hooky

by David Flick (Click for Author's Home Page)

I only played hooky from school once in my life. As you might suspect, I got caught and paid the penalty. Here is how it happened.

During my senior year, I had the privilege of taking Dads old '41 Dodge pickup to school on certain occasions. I took it on those occasions when I would stay late for basketball practice and would need a ride home. I recall that I once had the pickup at school. I vividly remember that the first hour after lunch was Study Hall.

Carol Waters, a classmate of mine, who lived on the old Odem place, located mile north of the Corner Store, was the one that got me into this hooky thing. Carol told me that he had some bank hooks on the Kiowa Creek west of town. He suggested that we take our lunch hour and skip Study Hall and make a quick run to check on those hooks. It was supposed to be a check on bank hooks not a hooky playing affair. He didnt have a vehicle and I did. Since the lunch hour was about 45 minutes long and since Study Hall was an hour long, we would have plenty of time to make the trip out and back before the second hour class after lunch.

So, we bought a Coke and a sack of peanuts in the hall of the old high school and split off to run a check on the bank hooks. It was a popular thing in those days to make a mixture of Coke and peanuts by pouring the peanuts into the bottle of Coke. We drank our peanuts Coke concoction on the run.

The place where Carol had the bank hooks was on Kiowa Creek, near where it spills into the Wa_s_h_i_t_a out on the farm-to-market road which leads to Herring. It was on the creek below Squaw-man Harry Cline's farm, which was west of where Houston Snow lived. We had no trouble getting to the site and checking the hooks. We had trouble getting back however.

The reason for the trouble was that the method we had to crank the old pickup was to park it on a hill so as to get a running start to get the engine running. The old pickup was finicky about starting. Sometimes it would start and sometimes it wouldnt. There was no problem finding a place to park it at school, but when we got out to the creek, there was not a place to park it on an incline to crank it. I took the risk that I could start it if we killed it while checking the hooks. I should have left the old clunker running. That was big mistake number two. Big mistake number one was falling for Carols line about playing hooky to check bank hooks. We werent calling it hooky, just a run on the bank hooks.

As you might suspect, I failed in my attempts to crank the pickup for the return trip. We were about four miles from town. There was no way that we would be able to get back to school unless we miraculously caught a ride, which was going to be next to impossible. We were in the creek bottom about a mile from the main road. Our only recourse, of course, was to walk back, which we grudgingly did.

We decided to walk back to Carols house, which was about five miles from where the pickup was stalled. I dont recall how we got back to Carols house, but I do recall that we did not get back to school the remainder of the day. We not only missed the rest of classes for the day, we also missed the basketball practice. We were in double jeopardy because we not only had to answer to Mr. Payne, our basketball coach, but we had to answer to Mr. Nobles, who was the high school principle. I had the added pressure of having to explain all of this mess to Dad and Mother, who were not going to take to this too lightly.

We got to Carols house and borrowed his fathers tractor and a chain to take back and crank the pickup. Albert Waters had a nice "M" model Farmall.

I knew that we were in trouble with the school officials, but I began to really hope, and with a great deal of internal agony, that we could get the pickup cranked and home before school was dismissed. I wanted to be able to go home at the proper time and attempt to avoid letting my parents know that I had gotten myself into this trouble. I didnt. In fact, I didnt even get home in time to do chores. Mother and Dad had already begun a search to see where I was. It was nearly dark when we got the pickup cranked and me back home.

I received my just punishment from Dad, which I recall was a severe scolding coupled with a very lengthy time of grounding. I dont recall, but I think I may have received a belting from Dad.

I do quite vividly remember that Mr. Nobles gave us a paddling in his office. Mr. Lamb and Mr. Payne were the witnesses to the event. Mr. Nobles first gave us a lecture on the evils of playing hooky and then gave each of us five licks with the Principals paddle. It did not matter to him that we had not intended to miss school. No amount of explanation would have gotten us off the hook for playing bank hooky. We were guilty.

The only thing I can recall about that paddling was that I dont remember it hurting at all. I dont remember whether Mr. Nobles didnt give us a hard licking or whether I was just to embarrassed to feel it. Nothing more was ever said to me about that incident. I tried to blot it out of my mind and forget it. Needless to say, I never played hooky again to check bank hooks.

More stories by David Flick