I Was Born In a Small Town
Before I was in the 2nd grade, I would ride my bike across town with out any fear whatsoever. I had a sandbox under a willow tree where I conducted ‘huge’ battles with little army men. I would build fortresses, rivers and bridges then tear it all down and build it up again the next day.
My next door neighbor had mini-bikes and we rode them all the time. We would do the Tarzan yell to locate one another during the day. When my friend wasn’t around I found endless things to occupy myself outside. I never got bored. The only time we went inside was to watch cartoons which, came on at noon for 30 minutes. Mom stayed home to raise us kids – most Moms did – and she would typically have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk ready in time for cartoons. Then, it was back out the door.
I was sun-brown, short-haired, and barefooted most of the time. The first bicycle I got, my dad found at a junkyard and fixed it. I never wore a safety helmet. I was scuffing my toes and elbows from the numerous daring rides all the time.
I moved about 30 miles away in the summer of before the 3rd grade to a smaller town. For a little kid it was another galaxy. I missed my friend. When I got lonely in the new place, I would stand on the storm cellar and do the Tarzan yell and listen for my friend to respond. I didn’t see him again until after our voices had changed and a whole other life had begun for me.
Sometimes I drive down that old street. As I descend the little hill I remember I could really build up a lot speed on my bike in this place. It was a little town back in the day. Now it’s surrounded by the growing Dallas / Forth Worth metroplex. The street seemed so huge back then. Now it seems very small. That ‘giant’ back yard looks like a chicken run. So many big things happened in such a little place. I had good solid childhood. I had a stable dad who kept a job. My mom stayed home with me, my brother, and sister. We went to Church every Sunday …like it or not.