Remember how hard they were to fill up? How hard they were to tie? How hard they were to resist throwing? Even now, 20 years later the temptation was almost overwhelming, as we spent 2 hours filling and tying over 250 balloons.
Every leaky balloon was an excuse to test out the goods. Meris, my oldest nephew, got first dibs on all defective merchandise. Each time we called out a "leaker" he would run over and execute a new water maneuver or experiment. The first one, he requested to keep filling with water until it burst under the pressure, then he tried popping one over his own head, giggling as the gush of water trickled down his forehead. Later he tried the same thing on Quincy the dog, who wasn't quite as thrilled about the whole ordeal. Other times he would simply cup the balloon in his hand, excitedly observing the steady stream of water until the balloon completely deflated.
After all that work, all that patience and all that waiting; it took us a fleeting 10 minutes to completely annihilate the stockpile. A giant tub placed in the middle of the yard wasn't the best plan, as bending over for a restock left your bottom in a vulnerable position. My brother Ben spent a good chunk of time during the fight whaling balloons at me. I too, spent most of my time trying to "get him back" We found out quickly that simply squeezing a balloon on or near someone was also an effective way to play, especially when trying to incorporate the littlest members of our family. Mom even jumped in momentarily. Her first feeble attempt to throw a balloon at Ben ended up bouncing off the side of my face before bursting on the ground.
Once all balloons were depleted, it was a race to grab either the tub of water or the hose as to use as further ammo. In true brotherly fashion, Ben came running around the side of the house with a "hidden" stash of balloons. When those were gone, it was back to the hose and then as quickly as it started, it was over.