I remember when I was a 5 year-old kid growing up in Casper, Wyoming. We lived in a new but modest home right on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was a new housing development, complete with that sterile feeling common to all neighborhoods without trees. But there were benefits to being there. Kids could wander into the foothills for hours at a time without their parents worrying about them. “Be back in time for supper” was the parent’s parting words as we headed out with a lunch under our arm. Getting or lost or hurt were real possibilities for us, but that would be our own fault. Being abducted or molested was not even a consideration. Our biggest worry of the day was to get home late for supper and being paddled.
Now that I look back, our life at Casper’s 2625 Odell Avenue was pretty cool, although we really didn’t realize it at the time. There was a freedom and liberation in my childhood neighborhood, and then there was the freest and most liberated kid of all, Farley.
Farley wasn’t a neighborhood “regular.” There were the Tollefson boys who lived across the street. They were really cool. Their dad, Dale, took us on a camping trip once. We kids all piled into his green International pickup and he drove us down the road. When we got near the camping site, Dale let down the tailgate and we got to sit with our feet dangling off the back…WOW what a big deal that was. There were other “regular” families in the neighborhood, “regular” meaning a stay-at-home mom, a dad with a job, and a bunch of kids. But no one knew Farley’s parents. In fact, I don’t think Farley lived in the neighborhood more than a year or so. Perhaps Farley had an older brother, but no matter how many siblings he had, Farley was the neighborhood standout.
You see, Farley was really liberated. He would do something so outrageous that all of the neighborhood parents thought it was uncouth. We kids were less critical of Farley. You see, when you’re a young kid and you’re hard at play out in the street with your buddies, and your bladder needs emptying….well….you don’t want to interrupt the fun any longer than necessary. Any interruption in the play should be minimized. Farley certainly felt that way. He would just pull down his pants and shamelessly pee in the gutter, right out in the street! Farley would run around in his underwear most of the time. No pants, just underpants. It made the whole “Farley Thing” much easier.
You might want to know why I would be thinking about Farley so many years later. Well, my grandson Marek is in his final stages of potty training. We’ve found that when he’s in the house it is just simpler to have him run around “Farley-Style” so that he doesn’t have those burdensome pants and underwear to shed. So, when he’s running around the house half naked, we just call him “Farley”. And, while us older guys with small bladders don’t usually admit it, when we take a long walk we make darned sure that there are adequate bushes, vegetation, or parked railroad cars present. While none of us are as bold as Farley, we “go Farley” more often that we would like to admit.