September 25, 2013

Memory Lane

The walled-in concrete steps
That led downstairs
I would often sit there
Unless it was flooded from rain

Our old black lab mutt, Fritz
He was always a good boy
Not the first dog we had
But the first dog I remember

Our big-small back yard
Where I first mowed grass
With an electric mower
Careful not to mow the cord

The redwood-stained garage
Built on the new concrete driveway
Where dad parked his motorcycle
And new crème-colored Cadillac

Old, thick roots of the
Big oak tree out front
A battlefield for my army guys
And racetrack for Hot Wheels

Our street was lined
With working-class houses
Where, here and there,
My friends all lived

Rouge River creek wove through the neighborhood
Every boy’s playground and place of high adventure
Breaking bottles and catching crayfish
The occasional rope swing that never lasted long

Games of Chase (No babysitting home base!)
Teams chosen and boundaries agreed upon
Staying out ‘til the streetlights started to come on
Summer days seemed to last forever then

But summer didn’t really last
And soon the days grew cooler
We all knew school would start soon
Everybody walked; that’s just how it was

We all ran home after school
So we could maximize our play time
And get stuff accomplished
Before dinner time rolled around

Soon Halloween would be approaching
“What are you gonna be?”
Always the most-asked question
Costume choices were important

Eventually there’d be snow
Galoshes came out of closets again
Clunky soles and one broken buckle
I preferred tennis shoes all year

Then, Christmas, of course
The annual Christmas Eve trip
To see both sets of grandparents and
Whichever relative stopped by that year

The long trek, blocks and block
Dragging my sled to Powers Hill
Where new plastic sleds worked best
Not the old steel-railed wooden ones

I drove back there recently
My old street dead-ended at the creek
The neighborhood houses looked small
And the sled hill is long gone

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