A few years ago, this phrase was adopted by the Carrollton City Schools to showcase its long tradition of excellence. I’m sure these powerful words served to reinforce the academic and athletic success of our city school system. However, recently my classmates from the CHS Class of 1987 gathered for a reunion and I’m afraid a group of my friends have proven that “tradition never graduates.”
Unfortunately, I missed my reunion to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding, but after returning to Carrollton I quickly caught up with the gossip from the event. It came as no surprise after the reunion ended a group of my friends returned to their old ways.
Instead of following their priorities of returning home to their spouses and children, they decided to “roll” my classmate Bill Parrish’s yard. In other words, to “roll a yard” is to cover a friend or enemy’s property with toilet paper.
“Nothing good happens after midnight,” my father Jimmy Garrett, who we refer to as “The Chief,” used to tell my brothers and me.
Perhaps my classmates needed to consult “The Chief” before they stayed out all night, but they didn’t and so I decided to call my classmates for the details.
“They did an outstanding job,” said local analyst Matt Carter who arrived on the scene shortly after the rolling. “They even rolled a tree to make it look like a candy cane.”
The first time I ever rolled a yard as a teenager was an interesting experience. My friends and I rolled the yard of our good friend and former Tabernacle Baptist Church Music Director Jack Gantt. For several years, Gantt conducted “The Living Christmas Tree” with his incredibly gifted choir. So, how could my friends and I stoop to such a low level and roll someone like Gantt’s yard when he was a friend to all?
“Rolling a yard can be the highest form of flattery,” said Carter. “Plus Gantt’s house had a big tree in his front yard and easy access to the woods. It’s not Gantt’s fault. It was the location of his house. Besides, it’s when your house gets an egg on it that indicates you may have a true enemy, and we never threw eggs.”
For years, the place to stockpile the goods necessary for rolling a yard in Carrollton was the old Warehouse Groceries located behind Big Chic. For $20, a group of teenagers could purchase 98 rolls of toilet paper. However, a successful roll cannot be predetermined by the amount of ammunition.
“The key is to use backspin when you’re throwing a roll,” Carter said. “Also, never underestimate the wind. Amateurs never focus on these critical techniques. It’s obvious our classmates still possess these necessary skills because they recognized the weather and wind were perfect conditions before sneaking into Bill Parrish’s yard.”
Through the years, there have been other copycat pranks such as placing “For Sale” signs in yards, dumping soap in the fountain by NuWay Cleaners and even filling a yard with plastic forks. But it’s the old classic method of throwing a roll of toilet paper in a tree that still brings out the teenager in all of us.
Maybe “tradition never graduates” is true. I’m just glad my classmates graduated. Lord knows what they would be like if they were still in high school today.
Garrett is a Carrollton resident and businessman. You can read more of his columns at joegarrett1.wordpress.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.