My mother sent us down to the meadow when we got too loud inside the cabin. A hundred yards down the two ruts we called a driveway, obscured by several trees and a substantial pile of granite. Past the horseshoe pit. Past the aspen grove. That was our playground. That's where we learned about lawn darts.
There were plenty of toys and activities that we pursued at our cabin in the woods that we never would have attempted in the cozy suburban cul-de-sac: Riding motorcycles, operating chainsaws, climbing trees and rocks like we were born to it. And those lawn darts. To be more precise, the brand name we were presented with was "Yardarts." At some level, I suppose it made sense, since they were marketed as "fun for the whole family," and we were encouraged to "throw them like horseshoes." What the makers of these foot-long plastic missiles with weighted metal tips failed to take into account was the way three brothers might already be throwing horseshoes. Flinging a two-pound iron horseshoe in the direction of someone who alternated between being your best friend and chief tormentor is an ugly temptation. Making them a notch more aerodynamic and putting a nice sharp point on them didn't do anything to arrest that feeling.
And yet, we all walked back into the cabin after a day's play. Sometimes to the surprise of my mother, who may have been expecting (hoping) that evolution would win out, and the herd would be thinned. Or at least frightened.
Not us. The three of us were made of stronger, or perhaps luckier, stuff. We fell down, bloodied and scraped, got back up again, and got ready for the next day. My mother, to her credit, cleaned our wounds with hydrogen peroxide and bandaged them with as many Band-Aids as necessary. Then she sent us back down the path to the meadow. This time my older brother took his bow and arrow. What could go wrong?