Sunny days always make me think of being a kid. Back then, if you were under the age of 18 and didn’t have the chicken pocks you were outside terrorizing the neighborhood on warm days. I hardly ever see kids outside anymore. Some folks say it's more dangerous to be a kid in the world today, but I guess that is a matter of perspective.
Here is a list of “toys” we got to play with when I was a kid:
-Bicycle (BMX or Banana Seat)
-Plywood and/or 2x4 Studs
-Wooden baseball bat
-Glass canning jars
-Coffee can and/or metal bucket
-Dog and/or cat
Now I know that everyone thinks their childhood was the hardest, the roughest, the one filled with the most misery, but mine really was. We didn’t have Nintendo or cable or Ipods. We had Atari, 3-TV channels, and siblings. I know on the outside it doesn’t sound rough, but trust me, even the scissors were bigger and scarier back then. The giant, 2-foot industrial-steel, ones with the black handles. No safety scissors in our house. If you were going to cut off a limb, you were going to do it in such a way that a board certified surgeon couldn’t reattach it.
People say, “Yeah but nowadays you have to be afraid of your neighbors.” I was afraid of my neighbors back then. It was an unwritten rule that any adult could hit you at any time for any offense without warning, and then, whatever they hit you for--they would turn around and tell your parents about. It was called community parenting, and trust me, we all lived in fear.
However, I don’t think kidnapping was as common back then. Have you ever tried to kidnap a kid on bicycle armed with a pitchfork and a 2x4? Besides, we avoided all adults except the ice cream man and I think that poor guy was afraid of us.
If, by chance, we had a rough day in the herd we might wander home for a little sympathy and Kool-aid, but what we usually got was mower duty. You wouldn’t even dream of saying the deadly phrase “I’m bored,” because what awaited you was a push mower made of solid cast iron weighing roughly 2 tons. No matter how many times you pushed that thing around the yard it wouldn’t cut a single, solitary blade of grass. However, if you happened to roll it over the human foot, it could turn flesh into hamburger with a single swipe.
Don’t get me wrong, mixed in with all the treachery were some pretty good times. I know that I had a good childhood because I can count at least a dozen near death experiences before I reached adulthood. I learned some things along the way too, little life lessons that will stick with me forever. Things like: No matter how many times you toss the cat into the wading pool, they still don’t like it.