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Raising Boys

It was 1996 and I was newly single, raising two boys ages 11 and 13. My boys had always been rough and tumble types, preferring to explore outdoors and get dirty. The dirtier the better. The carpool car full was a sensory assault; smelly and noisy. In other words....tween boys. Then one day my oldest asked me if I would please get hair spray for him the next time I went to the market. I was thrilled! At last he was interested in hygiene. Perhaps he had a crush on a classmate. I asked him if he wanted scented or unscented. He replied that it really didn't matter so long as the propellant was butane or propane. I got a sinking feeling and asked, "This isn't for your hair, is it?" He managed to look horrified as he replied, "No! It's for my spud gun." My dad had helped him assemble the crazy thing which consists of a long plastic pipe and a chamber containing a spark source (think BBQ lighter). It is into this chamber that you spray the propellant which ignites and shoots the projectile out the end of the pipe. Well, my vision of great-smelling boys didn't come to fruition for a few more years but they had a ball launching potatoes and apples at the nearby hillside.

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