In my extremely rural high school years there were few past-times that didn’t involve football, beer drinking, pick-up trucks, or guns. I use the term “beer” loosely because the I do not consider Busch Light (which a town of 600 could consume by the trailer-load) to be actual beer.
The small towns in south-west Iowa where I grew up often consisted of large Catholic churches, surrounded by ten taverns, surrounded by houses and auto-garages. Families and hearts were large and welcoming, even if the attitudes seemed to be a bit outdated.
Many highschoolers, knowing innately that escaping their rural habitat was going to be impossible, got a head-start on their drinking habits. The three cops in the town loved to bust under-age drinkers and cite them with a “Minor in Possession” ticket, commonly referred to as a MIP. For some, getting MIP’ed (pronounced like “tipped”) was a badge of honor, and others a mark of shame.
But I say that, so you will understand this. In one particular small town, one of these Catholic-colonies, a peculiar ritual evolved around the Halloween holiday known as “Pumpkin Rolling”. Upperclassmen of the high school would steal jackolaterns from the front porches of their neighbors, and roll them down the steep hill that was Main Street. In the morning, on their way to school, they could drive by and laugh and the piles and piles of smashed pumpkin ooze on the streets and sidewalk.
This became such a problem that the county passed an ordinance to crack-down on these unruly teens. The ordinance determined that in order to have a pumpkin, one had to be 19 years of age or older. Resulting in several of our reckless youth getting MIPP’d.
Minor in Possession of Pumpkin.
For some, this offence is on their permanent record! And those lucky few now have the honor, or shame, in explaining to their employer this ceremony of youthful exuberance.