Most of you probably remember things like walking to and from school, rain, sun, barefoot in the freezing snow, uphill both ways etc. One of my memories of these times came back to me when my first born was about 18 months old and we were walking past one of these
My first memory of these things was a swift dead arm as somebody yelled ‘FREE HIT!’. Because that’s what the FH stood for, everyone knew that. I only figured out that it was a fire hydrant when i was in my teens I think. But having Free Hits wasn’t too much of a problem, because it came with rules. You could only hit people when you were standing on it!
So if i remembered to avoid going within a couple of mtrs of them I was ok … of course if i was reading a book or talking to somebody and didn’t noticed then i got punched, and again my arm was unusable for a good 30 minutes.
So walking along with my 18month old son i decided that i was going to keep him innocent and nice for as long as possible, i pointed the FH label out and said ‘oh look! Free Hug!’ and gave him a hug.
This became a game and every time we would race for them to get the Free Hug.
When he was 5 and went to school he eventually found out others said it was a ‘Free Hit’, so i explained ‘Its only a Free Hit if they are standing on it, a Free Hug can be taken away and you can get it as many times as you want!’. So he went back and educated all his class mates.
16 years later, and i have now 4 children (11,12,13 and 18), and they all do the ‘Free Hug’ thing, very rarely anyone hits unless its gentle. Even when cycling the kids will swerve wildly (which i go mad at!) to get the FH so they have lots of ‘Hugs’ available to redeem (yep they all hug each other and me!).
So now in the present day, i was cycling to work today, and past a group of 12-13 year old kids going to school. They clearly went to a different school to my kids, so i was most surprised when they suddenly stopped, called ‘FREE HUG!!!!’ and started hugging each other!
I was flabbergasted that my kids & i have started our own trend now which has moved onto other schools, based on the fact that i disliked the random mean punch.
So next time you walk past a Fire Hydrant (FH), make sure you grab your Free Hug, you never know when you may need one!