Showcase-Sunday: The great pine cone war of 1980

avatar

I'm a reasonable guy - Not too argumentative, relatively easy to get along with and not covetous of other people's stuff. It means I don't get into conflicts very often, situations requiring some form of affirmative action...Sure, that happens, but rarely do I have to go to war...

...There was this one time though, when my brothers and I created one with the neighbour-kids in the small country town in which we grew up. War is hell they say…And so is the punishment meted out by mum and dad when you get caught doing the wrong thing. The story below offers an insight.

The road to conflict

It was a typical day in the small town of my birth; Nondescript. The same as every other. Almost sleepy. But it wasn't to remain so...No, there were rumblings, just below the surface, and who knew how this day would end?

Just after sunrise the heavy-vehicles began rolling in. Great hulking things of steel and hydraulics. They looked prehistoric; Powerful beasts capable of great destructive force. The prehistoric steel beasts were crewed by men with heavy boots, hard helmets and goggles who brandished even more dangerous, murderous equipment: Chainsaws, axes and saws. They meant business, these burly men with their rumbling steel beasts and sharp cutting implements.

Today was the day a row of ten massive pine trees were to be cut down at my family home. These mighty pillars of nature had become dangerously tall over the years with trunks of massive girth and branches almost too heavy for those trunks to support. Today was the day they would be hacked, their barky-flesh hewn and their deep age-old roots torn from the earth; Like babes from a mothers arms. Today they would die.

Motors roared and wood-chips flew, branches falling like soldiers scythed down by withering fire. Chains flew into the work, sharp teeth biting deeply into the flesh of those old trees. Sticky sap bled from the savage cuts, pouring down the barky-flesh of the trees, staining it, punctuating each and every cut as the trees bodies were torn apart.

Limbs were severed falling to the ground in a spray of wood chips and tree-blood sap. The savage men grimaced at their task but gave no quarter. They called to each other, voices gruff, speech almost guttural, over the cacophony of motors and the “thunk…thunk…thunk” of axe blows.

And then silence, the sort of silence one might find on a battlefield; The aftermath of battle, one side the victor, the other the vanquished. They had done their macabre work with brutal effectiveness. Men, splattered with the blood and flesh wood chips and sap of the pine trees, stood back reviewing their handiwork with professional appraisal. Satisfied on a job well done they began the task of cleaning and stowing their tools of trade, the murderous blades and saws, with meticulous and well-practised efficiency. Job done.

The seeds of war

As a young and quite mischievous inquisitive 10-year-old I spent the lead up to the Great [pine cone] War of 1980 running around excitedly, getting in the way and being yelled at to get away from falling branches that could have easily crushed me to a little brownish pulp. I watched in awe as the pile of dead and dying pine trees became larger and larger as parts were hacked off and they were felled. The pile ended up being well over the size of a basketball court and about as high as a basketball hoop. When you’re ten years old that’s big. My brother and I started climbing within it immediately, which was fraught with danger as one slip and we’d fall to the ground under tangled piles of pine needles, branches, trunks and cones. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

As with most things in a small town not much happens that doesn’t spread around quickly and so before too long several of the young kids from neighbouring properties arrived on bikes and afoot; Maybe they caught the scent of battle in the air? Maybe it was just the most interesting thong going on at that point. I don’t know, but in those days collect a group of kids together, add in the right mix of adventure and imagination and trouble will ensue. [These days they'd all be pale and slug-like in appearance, covered in corn chip crumbs and pimples, and with dark rings around their eyes after emerging from a session of playing Fortnight. - Or something like that. Anyway...]

War breaks out – Unleash the dogs of war

We will never know who fired the first salvo, who provoked the Great [pine cone] War; We can't attribute the outbreak of war to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo like the well-documented events leading up to World War One. No. This mystery will remain unsolved for all eternity I believe, that's why it's called a mystery. However what we do know is that the combatants squared off, strategies defined, plans were made and executed. They say in war, no plan survives contact with the enemy and I can attest to that; This was war at it most chaotic with ebbs and flows, twists and turns; Predictable only in its unpredictability.

The weapon-tech

As most people will know you can’t have a pine tree without a pine cone and with ten massive trees recently felled there were thousands of them. This is what was initially used in an offensive capacity during the conflict. We transitioned to good-old hand-to-hand combat, or rather, beatings, using thin, flexible sticks later though. Ah the joys of youth and no adult supervision.

Now, just a word on the pine cone-ammo. You know when they get old and open up like a little spiky ball? They sort of go brown and roundish. Yeah, well, not these ones. Our ammo-cones were green, closed and pointy on one end. Hard as hell and probably just as dangerous. We simply tore them off the branches and threw them with as much force and accuracy as we could muster.

It was a free-for-all initially but before long we became fatigued and hunkered down, settled in, for the war of attrition - It was then that the well-placed sniper-shot came into its own. Heads poked out of foxholes dug deep within the branches and needles and would be sniped by the opposing forces. It was brutal, bloody, dangerous (looking back as an adult) and so much fun!

Casualties, aid-stations and ceasefires

The first casualty was a young lad who caught one on the forehead. They say you never hear the one that gets you…Maybe not, but he heard our laughter that’s for sure! Blood was gooshing out of the cut and he just sat there dazed with an idiot look on his face. The casualties of war.

Fortunately we realised he was in quite a lot of pain and a cessation to the fighting was called. We called in a medevac (not really, we didn’t have any choppers or fixed wing aircraft) and he was taken to an aid-station in the form of the front veranda of the house. After a commando operation involving a joint-tactical-strike-force incursion into the large homestead we lived in we emerged with a handkerchief and a band-aid [sticky plaster.] In short order our man was patched and back on the line ready to do his duty. The armistice was concluded and fighting resumed.

For a couple of days, the war raged with only brief moments when the guns went quiet, like when we decided that riding our bikes was more fun or we got caught and yelled at by my parents. We'd get back to it before long though.

But soon the guns would go forever silent. There would be no more screams of pain, heroic one-man missions, whoops of laughter or yells of “good shot” or “ouch that hurt!” The guns fired their last salvo and the war concluded.

The toll of war

Casualties are a common sight on the battlefield and the Great Pine Cone War of 1980 was no exception. Most were sporting scratches and grazes and all of us had angry red welts on our bodies from being whipped with thin, flexible pine branches by the opposing forces. Miraculously no one lost an eye or any teeth. We were worn out and weary from constant fighting but satisfied that the war was a complete success. We don’t know who won; It wasn’t important really. We all just agreed we should give peace a chance, that the war must come to an end and we should withdraw into town on our bikes.

Like most battlefields the detritus of war remained at the conclusion of the conflict. It wasn’t long until the battlefield was cleared of debris though and the pine trees were removed leaving nothing but a clear patch of ground and the memories of war to contend with in our memories.

Reflections of a veteran years later

I look back on those days with fond memories. Those warm summers, seemingly endless weeks of no school, filled with adventure at every turn. Our imaginations played out many scenarios and our gameplay was not on a hand-held X-Box controller and TV screen. We played in the real world, interacted with each other with shouts, laughter and sometimes tears and we bonded as children should.

The Great Pine Cone War of 1980 was just one example in which we made something out of nothing and were very happy and content with it. Safe and completely entertained. Well, it wasn’t all that safe but we were country kids and the risk was (usually) worth the reward. I miss those days.

Just a note on this post: I intend no disrespect to the men and women who serve in times of peace and war; I respect every one of you. This is merely a post about my memories of good times as a kid written with a small dose of humour. To all who serve, past and present: Thank you for your service.

The original 1251-word post was written and posted by me on December 2017 2018. This post comprises 1753 words and has been reworked and reposted for the @nonameslefttouse #showcase-sunday concept. See the intro post here. I suggest you read it as he set some guidelines and a simple copy-paste of an old post is probably not legit.


Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default

Discord: @galenkp#9209 🇦🇺
@curangel curator



0
0
0.000
19 comments
avatar

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

0
0
0.000
avatar

The things we did as kids🤣

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000
avatar

Yeah, dumb huh? But in hindsight I'm glad I had the upbringing I did, devoid of computer games, Facebook and stuff like that. 😁

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000
avatar

Yep good times we still had without all these computer games, internet and videos etc.

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000
avatar

This post has been rewarded with an upvote from city trail as part of Neoxian City Curation program . We are glad to see you using #neoxian tag in your posts. If you still not in our discord, you can join our Discord Server for more goodies and giveaways.

Do you know that you can earn NEOXAG tokens as passive income by delegating to @neoxiancityvb. Here are some handy links for delegations: 100SP, 250SP, 500SP, 1000SP. Read more about the bot in this post. Note: The liquid neoxag reward of this comment will be burned and stake will be use for curation.

0
0
0.000
avatar

That "Tree Blood" sap. Stays with You for days.... Lol

Nice rework. Great Story.

No stranger to the Pine Sap here.

We have 3000+ loplolly hybrids on our property today. 1st harvest in 2007 was over 4000 trees. We downsized the crop, making room for the House and Shop to be built in 2008. Replanted in 2010.

Yes..... We are tree farmers also..... Here is a photo of the back 40.

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000
avatar

I remember this one 😆

Playing like that is how you learn limits (yours and everyone else’s or at least everyone you’re playing with at the time though I’m pretty sure you subconsciously extrapolate) and independently deal with situations that arise and figure out when you need to call for backup 🙃

Posted using Partiko iOS

0
0
0.000
avatar

I agree - Many life lessons are learned in times like that, not always apparent at the time though I guess.

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000
avatar

These wars were a daily occurrence at my elementary school. We had a crabapple tree as well. Had a few of those explode on my head, then it would splash onto those nearby, like blood and guts.

It all came to an end one year after a teacher had found a tiny arsenal of throwing spears.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Haha, so funny you mention crabapples...We had a couple of those trees also and the same thing happened! See? That's what growing up should be all about! :)

0
0
0.000
avatar

Nobody ever lost an eye... Though I did shoot my cousin between the eyes with a bb gun once. Got lucky there. Threw a dart at my brother and it got stuck in his back. I think darts are plastic now... I took a baseball bat to the head. I think I'm still normal after that. Not sure.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Sounds legit and yes, you're as normal as anyone else I guess, but I bet that baseball bat was never the same! Good work with the dart man!

Posted using Partiko Android

0
0
0.000