You know those rare, random days when you have time to just sit and contemplate?
Your mind meanders from this thought to that…and before you know it, you’re a kid again, reliving the freedom you had before responsibility and deadlines, social pressures and judgement, self-flagellation and guilt crippled your resolve to play…to fantasize…to do absolutely nothing…
Long ago and far away, when it was standard behavior for whole families to sit down together for meals in a dedicated dining room or at the kitchen table, I alternated between stuffing my mouth with food and stuffing Tango’s (our family dog).
My goal was simple: hurry up and eat, so I can get outside to grab the last precious hours of play before dark.
I knew my friends were all at their supper tables stuffing faces and dogs just like me. Because we had plans. Nothing earth-shattering, just our usual pre-sunset gathering in Mr. Bata’s Mulberry trees.
My fave was the Mulberry that stood on the border between Mr. Bata’s and Mr. Hanna’s properties. It was always a risk, hanging out in that tree, because Mr. Hanna would freak out about kids in his trees. And he considered that border tree half-his.
Which is exactly why it was my fave.
I could defy two no-no’s in one fell swoop: risk, and rule defiance.
Dashing out to meet the gang, all of us giddy with unsupervised freedom, was a wholly unmatched feeling. We didn’t know it at the time, but those gatherings would make treasured memories that we would call upon often as adults.
We didn’t do much in the Mulberrys – scramble to beat each other to the best branches, lay, limbs dangling, on our backs or stomachs while staining our teeth and tongues with succulent berry juice, hanging and swinging from branch to branch like monkeys.
Mostly, we talked. Rambling, schizophrenic bits of conversation that would change nothing in the world, accomplish no goals, had no purpose other than pure self-satisfaction.
Ahhh, to be that carefree again…
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Photo: Beatrice Heydiri