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PopgunCracker Jack and Related Memories: A Childhood Story– Part III: His back was turned to me! I scaled the wall, dodged from tree to tree, alligator-crawled behind a low hedge, snuck in and around a bunch of other kids and got up right behind him. I took aim and SLOWLY squeezed the trigger! POP! That was the sound of one of our favorite toys that was reliably for sale at the toy booth at every church picnic—the POP gun. It was a toy handgun pressed out of thin sheet metal with a plunger in the barrel attached to a spring and trigger. Some pop guns had a cocking mechanism, or, by pulling the trigger with two fingers you could depress the spring, and the plunger would compress air against a cork in the end of the barrel. The cork was about the size of a large peanut and was attached to the gun with a string about one foot long. The gun had only one cork so the string kept you from losing it after the first shot. The popgun was a must-have item even though it cost the equivalent of 5 boxes of Cracker Jack. Playing cops and robbers with my brothers and cousins consumed hours at picnics. As you might expect, the silly little cork on the string quickly yielded to other non-attached projectiles carefully chosen to inflict the most pain. Great fun; especially since I was both bigger and faster than my two younger brothers and so I took full advantage of them. My sisters, on the other hand, were all bigger and faster. During those days, girls, even those in the same grade in school, seemed to be half a head taller than most of us boys. We mistakenly believed girls couldn’t run because all they did on the playground was jump rope and play hop scotch. So if you were dumb enough to shoot one of your sisters or girl cousins with a pop gun they would both run you down and beat you up. Girls were pretty mean back in those days. Well, I quickly left my brothers in my cloud of dust, tucked my popgun in my belt, and bought another box of Cracker Jack to restore my energy for another event. I reached into my right pocket and counted: Yep, 8 nickels left. To be continued.