A peanut scramble, Russ Clever style


For Flashback Friday, I'd like to share a memory from about 11 years ago.

This memory involves Russ and Dody Clever, who both recently passed away (see and

Our family was at Tayamentasachta for the Independence Day celebration. We were about to experience the peanut (and candy) scramble, and Russ was in charge. As is typical with Russ, this wasn't going to be a dull peanut scramble. He was going to give it pizzazz.

When Russ threw the peanuts and candy, he didn't just toss them on the ground; he threw them as high into the air as possible. Needless to say, dozens of eager children were running through the storm of candy, reaching high and trying to catch as much as they could before it even hit the ground.

Choosing the word “storm” is not too dramatic. What quickly became evident is that the featured candy was not meant to fall from great heights. Children began collapsing, cries of agony filled the air, Dody yelled, “Russ, stop!”

Russ was apparently oblivious to the fact that the heavy lollipops were all falling stick-down. They were pelting the children's backs, heads and, unfortunately, faces. Poke, poke, poke–at high speed. Heavy hits were received by all.

My son Josiah was in the midst of this melee. He was not even three at the time. It all happened so fast that I wasn't able to save him from the Blow Pop that hit him square in the face, just below the eye. He collapsed on the ground, covering his eye and crying out. Dody kept yelling, “Russ, stop, STOP!”

Dody grabbed Russ's shoulder. He leaned his head toward her. She pointed out the destruction around him. They both rushed over to my son.

“Is he OK?” Russ anxiously inquired. “I'm so sorry!” He reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and said, “Here's a dollar.”

I found the gesture a bit amusing (in a good way). What is it about grandparents thinking money makes everything better? Well, I guess it works. Josiah was wide-eyed to receive his very own dollar, and he still remembers the incident to this day.

Josiah did quickly develop his first black eye. And Russ was able to return to his task in order to begin a new mission: trying to cultivate interest in the peanuts.

“Look at all these peanuts, kids!” he shouted. “Don't forget the peanuts!”

The children were already on their way, the peanuts forgotten, their sore backs recovering, their pockets filled with lollipops.

Adults who felt bad about the waste started picking up and shelling peanuts. And we all foresaw the future: Peanut scrambles would soon become candy scrambles.

Has anyone been to an actual peanut scramble lately?