LASR Anniversary – June Summers

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Mud Gutter
When I was a kid in the fifties, I couldn’t wait to play Mud Gutter with my friends. On a late summer afternoon we would gather in front of my house. Standing on the curb beside the bricked surface of the street, we would determine who would be IT and where the boundaries of the game would be. Everyone except IT would line up on the curb parallel to the street. IT would stand in the middle of the street and call out the number of steps (actually, jumps) we were allowed to take. The object was to get to the other side of the street without IT catching us. Thus, we wanted to take the biggest steps possible so that we didn’t have too much more distance to negotiate. The rule was that the curb was the departure point. I would go back from the curb as far as I could to enable me to get a running start. Then I would leap – one, two, three – and stop suddenly. If I didn’t stop on that very mark, IT could tag me and I would also be IT. After stopping, I was allowed to walk horizontally on an imaginary line in the street within the boundaries, waiting for my chance to dash across to safety on the other side. Sometimes I would fake IT out by pretending to start to run. However, I always had to keep one foot on that imaginary line. If I deviated from that line, IT could also tag me IT . Finally, I would take my chance and dash to the safe side. Every time IT caught someone, that person became IT also and had to aid the original IT in catching everyone else. This procedure went on, back and forth across the street, until there remained only one person – the winner. I was so proud of myself each time I won.

It was a fun and exciting game that we would play over and over night after night all summer long.

When I became an adult, I was curious to find the original rules of Mud Gutter, for we had made our own changes over the years. I actually did find similar rules to our childhood game in The James T. Callow Folklore Archive. However, I was astounded and shocked to find an entirely different meaning in the Urban Dictionary – “Mud Gutter A poop smeared ass crack. Usually the result of improper wiping or cleaning. May also be the result of a shart or fart in which you get more than you bargained for.”

LetFreedomRing_w10591 high resolutionWhen Avery Archer, an eleven-year-old boy, telephones Ken Driscoll, a young accountant, and pleads for help in escaping from his kidnappers, Ken thinks the boy is playing a sick prank. But after several daily calls, Ken truly believes the boy is in danger. When Ken contacts the local police for assistance, he learns Avery was abducted sixty-seven years ago and eaten by alligators in a nearby lake. Were they just prank telephone calls in the middle of the night, or were they desperate cries for help? The calls eventually force Ken to examine what is important in his life – his lob, his relationship with his fiancée, or the life of the boy at the end of the telephone line.

About the Author:I am a mature woman living in unincorporated Orange County, Florida, with my daughter, her family, four dogs, seventeen chickens, six Nigerian Dwarf goats, one horse, and 80,000 Italian honey bees. Graduating summa cum laude from Youngstown State University, I was an art teacher for several years. Now I am a part-time accountant working primarily from home. My daughter, Wendelin Saunders, who co-authored Let Freedom Ring, passed away from cancer in 2009. She graduated from Illinois Benedictine College with a major in math. Before her death, she and I ran an animal shelter in our home for forty dogs, twenty-two cats, and four rabbits.

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  1. Rita Wray says:

    I liked the blurb, that you.

  2. Rita Wray says:

    sorry, that was thank you

  3. Enjoyed reading your post, that sounded like it was a fun game to play in the summer.

  4. SHELLEY S. says:


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