There was always something to do when I was a young kid. The neighborhood where I grew up was taming with an endless array of activities that always seemed to exhaust my endless energy, even when I had my Red Ball Jets on. Smile.
With my two older sisters and one older brother, we spent countless hours either inventing games to play, or relying on the old fashioned ones that had been around for generations. Oh ya, I can’t forget my little brother. He was always there too. Blond headed little bugger. Smile.
One of the most favorite activities was hide and go seek. Our neighborhood on our street was perfect for the game, and there were a thousand points to find a great hiding spot. The only thing was if Buddy, the kid from next door, was the one who was, “it”, you didn’t stand a chance of reaching gooze before he did. He was just too damn fast. I can remember playing that game into twilight, until you could barely see. Such fun.
We also had our share of ball games as well. From football to basketball, to baseball, we had a ball.
There was a farm at the end of our street, and they had a cow pasture in behind our house where we would play baseball. Honest to God, we used to use the cow flaps for bases. Of course they were dried out, and light to the touch. You could actually pick them up and hurl them like a Frisbee. Can you see me smiling?
I can still remember my little brother Scotty, after he would hit the ball, he would run around the bases backwards. Yes, he was a leftie. They just do things differently I guess. I remember his blond hair glistening in the afternoon sun as he rounded third and headed for second. I am smiling again.
One day when I was around 8 or 9, the owner of the farm, Walter, brought a dump truck full of sifted sand and dumped it just on the other side of the three rail fence that ran up along the side of our driveway. It was instant heaven as we started trying to dig our way to China. What fun we had that first summer with the sand pile. It was simply awesome. We had quite a good collection of Tonka trucks and so did our neighbors, the Merriman’s. The sand pile was quickly turned into Little Falls Community Sand Pit as we plowed and graded and hauled and built a city within the pile. My sister Terri was the first tenant of the pit to install a Tupperware in ground pool for her sand estate house. She always was a show-off.
Every year, Walter would haul down a fresh load of sand to replenish our wonderful world of imagination. I drove by the house a few years ago, and you could still see patches of bare sand around the trees.
I would dare to say that I had it really good as a kid. It just seemed so naturally perfect. I always had a bike to ride, a sled to slide on, a ball to hit or throw, a kite to fly, and I could go on and on.
Things just seemed much simpler back then. No electronic gadgets to hamper the imagination. No computers to defrag. No cell phones to worry about charging. It was just easy simple things that made us who we were. Character building came from what you did, not what you had. I hope some day we can go back to those values and experience the whole package once again. There is just so much more to life than a hard drive, or an app, or a USB adapter.
Give me the days of building tents out of blankets on the clothes line, and I will show you a happy bunch of kids. Sliding down a twenty foot hill of grass on a cardboard box. Flinging apples a hundred yards from the end of a long apple tree branch for hours and hours. Smacking rocks from the street out into the field with a baseball bat. ?Spinning in circles on a rope hanging from the tree in front of the house, until you were so dizzy you couldn’t stand up. Digging holes in the snow until it was too dark to see. Sliding out on the hill under the moonlight until Dad whistled for us to come home. No matter where we were, we could always hear him whistling.
Remember? It wasn’t that long ago you know. If you try really hard, you can still feel and smell the sounds and the noise and the whole experience of just being a kid, plain and simple. They are still locked up inside of me and come bursting out every once in a while. That’s the best part, when for a split second, you are completely consumed with the same feelings that you had as a child. Exactly the same. It really is quite amazing.
I think I must have rode back and forth up and down my street about 428 thousand times on my bike. I can still hear the back tire squeal as I laid down a wicked awesome J-Bar with it. I also remember asking dad about a hundred times if he could buy me another back tire. It was a Schwinn Sting-Ray. I can still see it, banana seat and all. I am pretty sure it was green.
Yes, I am sure it was sparkly green.