The Clod Wars

I grew up on the south side of Amarillo, Texas. It lies right  in the center of the Texas Panhandle. It was there on a small patch of prairie on the west side of our neighborhood that the clod wars took place.

The dozen or so boys that grew up together (I being one of them) had taken the idea that this particular patch of  the Panhandle was our sovereign territory and would remain so in perpetuity. There were other neighborhoods nearby and some of the boys in those areas (none of which a shared a border with the field in question) had the mistaken idea that this was their territory. Thus was the genesis of the clod wars.

No one knows when the clod wars started. It was around the time that the boys in our area found out that a clod could be used in an effective defense against all comers, with exemptions being parents, the Texas Rangers, the little girls in our neighborhood, and the Vice Principal at school.

A word about clods. The dirt in the panhandle has a degree of clay in it which allowed one to grab it and, quick as can be, form a ball just the right size to fit in the palm of one’s hand. It could be thrown with devastating effect and there was an endless supply. The clod was the universal weapon of choice for all combatants. There were a few times that rocks were used but that happened on rare occasions  and never by us………..

Now, the territory was, if memory serves, somewhere around five acres. Our neighborhood was on the east side, James Butler Bonham Junior High School on the north, a farm on the south side (readers will remember the Legend of the sorghum bull – this farm was where it started), and Soncy Road on the west. The plains of the Panhandle are prairie so it consists of grass, tumbleweeds, and no hills. There were, I must add, a large resident population of snakes, toads (land and horned), rabbits, and other assorted creatures who made their home on the Great Plains. Looking at it, one sees just the grass and sheer empty space but, it is, in reality, a teeming metropolis.

Who were the neighborhood boys? So glad you asked. Let me see. There was me of course. Then there was Gary, Randy, Carl, Mark, Larry, Bobby, Ricky, and four or five more whose names I can no longer recall.

Next week: the first clod.


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