The Magnificent Seven

Rick Ryckeley's picture

This week marks the 33rd anniversary of the first and last raid of the Magnificent Seven. The midnight foray on Candi’s house is forever documented on the front pages of old yellowed newspapers tucked safely away in forgotten scrapbooks.

Still, the raid holds three Flamingo Street records even to this day: the most rolls of toilet paper used on one yard – 125; most kids injured by acting stupid in the middle of the night – four (yes, yours truly was one of them); and the most kids escorted nicely by Officer Riley back to our respective homes. That would be all seven of the Magnificent Seven.

The night we won the region football championship was indeed a time to celebrate. Briarwood, home of the mighty Buccaneers, had never defeated Cherokee County in a regular season game, much less in a playoff.

We decided the best way to celebrate our great victory was spending half the night throwing rolls of toilet paper high into pine trees. The other half we spent slapping bugs, running from bees, and being cut by briars.

Okay, so there are better ways to celebrate a football victory, but what did we know? We were just high school kids.

Goofy Steve, Bubba Hanks, neighbor Thomas, my three brothers and I brought bags of toilet paper after the game. At midnight we snuck out of our houses and came together in front of the vacant lot to form the Magnificent Seven.

The yard we targeted was Candi’s, the head cheerleader for the Buccaneers. She was the only cheerleader who lived on Flamingo Street. Looking back on the incident, it was the only logical choice we made that night.

On our way to Candi’s house, the rules for the attack were decided upon. First, once thrown, all toilet paper rolls had to be caught before they hit the ground. The constant thumping of 125 rolls would surely wake the dead — and easily wake Mr. Samples, a man who was really tired of pulling toilet paper out of the trees in his front yard.

Second, if the flood lights came on, everyone had to hide behind a tree, saving the giant oak for Bubba. And third, if the police showed up, the Magnificent Seven would simply dissolve back into the night. Exactly how wasn’t explained, but to us it was a small detail and a great plan.

It was almost two hours later before our plan unraveled. We were down to our last couple of rolls and thought we were going to get away when I ran into a spider web. Not your ordinary web, mind you. This web was super sticky and wrapped completely around my head. The multi-legged creature ran up my face, across my head, and then down my shirt. Yes, I screamed and danced my way across the front yard like a sissy.

Outside lights quickly flooded the front yard and all of our handiwork. As planned, six of our group hid safely out of sight behind pine trees covered in streamers of toilet paper. I continued to spider dance my way across the grass, ripping away at the sticky web.

The dance came to an end when I tripped on my pants, twisted my ankle, and folded to the ground. I landed right at the feet of Mr. Samples.

Many life lessons were learned that night. First, always wear a belt when you leave the house. It does really help to keep your pants up, especially if you do the spider dance. Second, there’s no tree big enough for Bubba Hanks to hide behind.

And the most important lesson we learned that night was you can throw all the paper you want at a situation, but if small details in the plan are left to chance, they can and will defeat you.

I just hope with all of the paper money President Obama is throwing around that he has all the little details worked out. Like who’s going to pay all the money back. Otherwise he might just be caught with his pants down when the light of reality finally shines.

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