Friday, June 18, 2010
A Simpler Time
As I sit in my comfy chair, smoking my pipe, my mind drifts away. The stressful surge of never-ending stomach juices calms, and I think to a time when the most stressful thoughts in my life were that of whether or not I'd finished my English homework, turning my spelling words into cleverly crafted sentences to properly entertain and bullshit my teachers into believing that they'd done their jobs for the week.
I see 322 Center Street, the mammoth Victorian house that was built in the 1800's. I remember the summer nights chock full of neighborhood-wide games of hide and seek.
I'd usually found my way past my brothers, either hiding behind a now 200+ year old oak tree, or in a heavily shaded spot nestled between a foothill and the large stone wall that divided our gigantic yard in two. If those places didn't cut the mustard, there was always the large doghouse we'd had for Honey, our monstrous golden lab. My perceived genius for hiding was second only to the utter silence with which I stole through the night. I was the only one who thought to remove his shoes in order to further muffle the impact of tiny feet on whatever surface they contacted. Half the time I tagged someone, it wasn't that I had outrun them... They simply never heard my approach.
The wooded swamps out behind the houses boundaries were always fantastic settings for the myriad forts, and stockpiles of comics, toys, and later on, low-grade fireworks.
The dirt pit that surrounded the largest of the trees in our little kingdom was the arena in which we held the G.I. Joe wars, with matchboxes, Transformers, and my favorite, SpiderMan. Recently, I read and article pointing to certain bacteria in soil that has a certain antidepressant quality about it... It's no wonder we were so content to revel in it, wearing no shoes, and knowing no fear.
The only thing better than any of these things was the greatest childhood experience of them all...
Saturday morning. My Hulk jammies were the only armor I needed to do battle with a gargantuan bowl of cereal, or in slightly later years, scrambled eggs, as I was then allowed to do some light cooking.
All this while watching the greatest cartoons of all time. 6am. I'm up, downstairs, and watching SpiderMan and His Amazing Friends, before the alarm could ever even attempt to sound.
My pipe on a cool summer evening suddenly seems less magical, and my worries more mundane...
God, to be a kid again! To be able to see the special and wonder in even the smallest, most trivial of surroundings...