Dad looked at me seriously and said we need ‘to talk.’ I knew it wasn’t that talk. We’d had that one months ago. I don’t know which of us had been more embarrassed and uncomfortable. In my mind, I ran through the possible screw-ups that I’d done that were major enough to warrant a talking to. Dad had already found the fireworks I was keeping hidden in the garage for Jimmy. Dad didn’t like my explanation that Jimmy’s dad would have had a cow if he’d found them. Dad said he wanted to be the father who was the excuse for not doing something stupid. I’d already been punished for that. As far as I knew, I hadn’t done anything excessively stupid since then.
We drove to the Loony house and, after all of us took a deep breath, we entered the combat zone—the celebration.
Ben was one captain. Scott’s Dad, Mick was the other. They picked players one by one with the older guys going first. When only Scott and I were left, Ben picked me. He told me to block Scott. It was like blocking a boulder. Scott pinched me and tried to knock me down, but he didn’t get near Ben who was the quarterback.
I lowered my voice. “He’s got to be an in-law.”