Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, reflecting back on the moments and the years of my life a bit more than I once did. Seems almost tragic how fast the days now pass, how often we flip the monthly calendar pages, and the years go churning by like widgets on a production line. We all (yes, I’m guilty as well) seem to live each day in fast forward. Our kids or our neighbor’s kids that were once two or three years old… are now pimple-faced seniors ready to graduate high school. The garage or hall closet we all planned to clean out remains the same year after year, the importance low and always being put off until next weekend, month or year.
As we approach the end of another year, it’s hard not to think of the things that used to be routine and important. Traveling to visit with friends or relatives on Sundays, and then returning home and Mom frying chicken in a cast-iron skillet, the wonderful aroma of homemade cornbread baking in the oven. The smell stays with me even today. I only wish now that I’d asked her for the recipe to both before she passed.
The family members all seated around the table, sharing a blessing before eating, talking about their day, the important things in their lives. I remember playing “I see something you don’t see” or board games after we ate.
We rode bikes, and played ball at the near-by parks, or on the paved streets of our neighborhood. Scotland Street being one end zone and Merritt Drive the other. The corner bases of our makeshift ball diamond being mailboxes and second base the lid of a gray metal trash can. We had invisible runners, and played until dusk or when our mom’s would call us in for dinner. I recall having to mow our neighbor’s yard an entire summer for hitting a ball through his front window. It was a game-winner for our team…so I didn’t mind so much.
On the Fourth of July, we laid coke bottles down and shot bottle rockets down the street.
I remember my dad spanking me with his belt on numerous occasions for my misbehavior at home or in school. The principal of the school also spanked me with a wooden paddle on several occasions. I guess climbing out the school room window when the teacher was writing on the blackboard with white chalk wasn’t such a good idea. However, I do remember gaining a few new friends, and seeing the girl I liked at the time smile when I was returned to the classroom with a sore butt. Maybe it’s just me… I think I turned out just fine without turning any of them in for child abuse.
I recall the family piling into the station wagon, going to Drive-Inn movies on Friday nights. My dad with his six-pack cooler, mom with freshly made sandwiches and snacks to save the family money at the snack bar. The playground under the screen kept those that became bored with the movie busy until the credits rolled.
On the way home, I remember the sounds of the gravel crunching underneath the tires and still see the lights of line of cars exiting. I either fell asleep or feigned being asleep so my dad would carry me into the house.