There's something about that junior high age.
Remember the movie "Sandlot"?
Something about the friends of your adolescence makes them special for the rest of your life.
The music: Beatles, Beach boys, and Motown.
The moments: first kiss, first cigarette, Kent State.
The culture: Laugh-in, Woodstock, The Summer of Love.
When God changed me from a child into someone who needed deodorant, my friends went through the same thing.
The events that occurred during that part of our lives are seared into our memory banks.
Here's one of my personal favorites.
My best friend back then was Dennis Simoson.
We were headed for the seventh grade at the end of that carefree summer.
Too young for real jobs, we could sense that summers where no one expected you to do anything constructive were coming to an end.
It was a steamy day in August.
My older sister Joanie invited a few friends over for a dip in the pool.
Ninth-grade girls in our backyard.
In bathing suits!
For 12-year-old boys, nothing could've been more exciting.
The girls each found an innertube so they could float serenely on the water, working on their tans.
Now what does the typical junior high male do when confronted with older women in bikinis lounging in the hot sun on the surface of a pool?
They were perfectly executed.
The sudden disruption of water dislodged each bathing beauty.
We took off at top speed out of the backyard and headed for the sideyard fence.
That fence had guaranteed my escape many times over the years.
It was a high chain-link style that we as athletes could scale and hop over easily.
But that day the fence became our enemy.
As I cleared the top, I landed on the other side, ready to go into my sprint.
I turned to look back in horror.
There was Dennis.
His suit caught in one of the chain links along the top edge of the fence.
Ripped to shreds.
My buddy was swinging from left to right.
He was just about naked.
The only thing left from the swim trunks was sort of like a G string.
A G string Dennis couldn't get out of, his feet dangling about 2 feet off the ground.
Fear engulfed his face.
Angry teenage girls were about to storm onto the scene.
I thought of fleeing.
But the thought of poor Dennis facing the girls in his exposed state was too much to bear.
He would never live it down.
I lifted him, creating enough slack in the shreds of the suit so that he could untangle it.
We hid in the bushes, Dennis looking like Adam before the invention of fig leaves.
The ladies never found us and gave up the search.
I snuck into the house and grabbed a pair of shorts for the boy who almost made embarrassment history.
Do you have a classic story from back when you were coming of age?
You bet your bippy.