Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40 - One person's felony incident …

Just another day in my childhood


November 10, 2017

Andrea Schmunk, a 28-year-old mother in Wisconsin, has been arrested on a felony charge of recklessly endangering safety after she allegedly used her 9-year-old son to help weigh down a plastic pool she had strapped to the top of a minivan.

Yes, the article in the Ozaukee Press says, Schmunk reportedly tied her son and the plastic pool to the top of a minivan that she then drove down streets. At some point, though, she stopped and put the kid and the pool in the vehicle.

Witnesses reported the incident Sept. 9 and police found Schmunk after she had dropped the pool off at her sister’s house.

Schmunk is due in court Nov. 14, and if convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and five years of extended supervision, the article says.

I have to admit, a part of me is saying, “Really? Five years? How fast was she going and how good of a job did she do tying them down — because this sounds kind of awesome to me.”

The scene could’ve been ripped from my own childhood. So if they were strapped down well and toodling down a side street, rather than thinking I needed to call 911 for the kid I would have been thinking about how much fun he was having.

I grew up riding in the back of the pickup, swimming in flooding creeks and chopping firewood with an ax. By the time I was 5 I had my own pocket knife, sharpened by dad, and a BB gun, and I was competing in shooting matches by the time I was 12.

When it was time to graduate away from swimming with a life-jacket and we wouldn’t get brave enough to go out in the deep water, my brother and I got thrown off the end of the dock.

We sledded in the middle of the street — none of the parents saw a problem with that, even after dark. And more than once, Dad pulled us in sleds and on inner tubes behind the pickup, even after dark.

My cousin and I were turned loose riding horses in the mountains starting when I was 5. No helmets. No adults. No limits. Lots of potential.

I didn't have the daily, year-in and year-out grind of farming and ranching, but the game warden’s-kid equivalent to those chores was feeding the young owls and bears occasionally under our care. I know that sounds all Gentle Ben and Disney moment-ish, but in reality it was a little gross and a lot fraught with perils.

We had to kill squirrels, gophers and chipmunks and chop them into bite-size pieces with a hatchet for the birds. The owls were not nice about taking food — and a word from the wise, if you’re ever in close proximity to a bird of prey, that snapping beak is nasty, but it’s the talons that can really do the damage. And the bears, once they graduated from bottles, were fed everything from dog food to roadkill, by us kids.

Our first owls, a pair of great-horned owls, came to us when I was 5 and those were my 5-year-old’s chores. The bear cubs started coming a couple years later, and let’s just say they don’t only climb trees and even the most people-friendly of them can be like handling the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil.

Those were different times.

Schmunk told police that she thought it was OK because the kid was 9 and her dad let her do these things by the time she was that age.

I understand her reasoning, and clearly, if I were a parent in this modern culture, she and I would make compatible cell mates in prison.


It was a good life if you didn’t scare easily at http://www.facebook.com/ViewfromtheNorth40.


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