sport of common folkIt’s kind of a secret sport, even hillbillies don’t speak openly about it in mixed company. It’s a sport for poor folks and bored kids, the specific techniques are passed down from generation to generation… Admittedly it’s more of a pastime for boys than girls and my three girls weren’t remotely interested in passing on the skill, trait, or legacy.

While the sport can be played in some regions of the world almost year round, it’s more of a seasonal sport and the necessary targets or prey are usually in abundance in the summer time. For a lot of folks, it’s one of the things they dread about summer that ushers in heat, humidity, and the illusive mosquitoes.

The interesting thing about the poor folk sport is that the game is available anywhere and is equal to all walks of life regardless of social status. The sport that requires no equipment other than your hands is more easily played around farms and fields, but even the city slickers can get in on the action, especially where there’s lots of trash.

As I recall quite well, the game was introduced to me by my dad who grew up on a farm and the sport was demonstrated out of frustration on his part. Sophisticated folks can sometimes avoid the things that common folks can’t. Dealing with pesky flies is one of those type of things.

I remember my dad working outside with sweat running down the sides of his face and giant drops falling off the tip of his nose. It didn’t take  long to figure out that flies like sweaty people along with trash and manure of all grades and types. When the pesky fly starts to pester, picking a fight, the heavyweight opponents, people like my dad, although a master of his craft, tried to wave off the smaller challenger.

I can’t remember how many times my dad tried to get a diligent fly to leave him alone, but once he was provoked the game was on… I watched the master snag flies off of his body, off of objects, and right out of thin air with his big ole’ once sharecropper hands. As a child of a common man, especially after I attempted it with no success, I was impressed. I guess you might say, “You can take the man out of the common, but you can’t take the common out of a man.” I’m still impressed…

I was so impressed with the skill, speed, and art of catching flies by hand I practiced it. Summer time was fly killin’ time and before I reached adulthood I was a master fly killer without the need of a fly swatter. Left hand, right hand, on something or right out of thin air, I could snag the little demons, but I added a new twist the sport of common folk; after I’d catch them I’d hurl them like a fastball pitch into a wall at point-blank range to hear their little bodies smash against the wall.

I guess that makes me a creative commoner… or not… It does make me a person who recalls humble origins and a man who valued the simple little things that seem crazy to some people, but were a lesson in making the most of any situation, thereby making every situation a cherished one… with a simple lesson to be told and shared…

Even if you can’t catch flies by hand…