The Farm Chronicles: The Chargers

There seems to be this innate force within kids to be a part of something bigger than them. It may be why cliques form in schools, or why kids play sports, or join 4-H or some such club. Kids like to socialize and come together for a common cause. When I was in elementary school at Paris, Ohio, we were all a pretty tight-knit group. There were maybe 30 kids in my class and we were pretty much all from the rural area of the county. I don’t know where I got the idea, maybe reading a book somewhere, but I thought it would be good to get the boys together in a club. So I invited all the guys in our class to come to the farm on a particular Saturday morning and form up the “Chargers.”

In the early 1960s, the San Diego Chargers football team was making headlines. What caught my attention, besides the Chargers winning the American Football League Championship in 1963, was one of the logos for the Chargers—a shield with a horsehead and a lightening bolt. I thought it was the coolest logo ever. And that’s the genesis of a second-grader’s imagination of having a boy’s-only club called the Chargers. Many of the brave young men in my class accepted the call to adventure and joined up with the Chargers. In preparation for our inaugural meeting, I talked my mom into letting me have an old white bed sheet to make a flag. I painted on that sheet a large shield with a horse head and lightening bolt with the name “Chargers” printed boldly across the top. Then I found an old broom handle to use as a flag pole.

The morning of our first meeting was upon us. It was a chilly, damp, misty spring morning as about eight of us gathered just outside the horse barn, trying to avoid the large puddles of water in our driveway. What next? I hadn’t planned what we would do after we got together. So we voted on what to do next and decided to go “charging” through the woods with our Chargers flag waving in the morning mist like warriors of old. We had our barn boots and goulashes on and we set out across the pasture, proudly passing the flag among us as we marched into the woods. Since only my buddy Sonny and I knew the woods well, we told everyone to stay close. But there was one guy—Chuck–who wanted to be the scout and against our orders he charged off in a different direction.  After all, we were the Chargers who charged!

After a couple of hours “charging” through the woods, we were tired and went back to the barn for refreshments. All except Chuck. We couldn’t find him. Finally, about a half hour later, Chuck came in. He was muddy and wet. ‘Said he had crossed rivers and mountains and wasn’t sure he would survive or find his way back. Sonny and I just looked at each other as we knew there were no mountains, and only a small creek, but in Chuck’s eyes, he had just experienced the most dangerous journey of his life. In Isaiah 43.2 God says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” But, as Chuck learned, it doesn’t mean your boots, or your imagination for that matter, won’t overflow along the way. Incidentally, that was the last meeting of the Chargers.

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Bill Wilson