Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Warm Memory

On a hot, humid day in August, all of the children in a generic Levittown neighborhood ran up and down the street playing kickball. The ball escaped the macadam playing field and rolled into the yard of the angry old man in the brown house.

A caucus ensued to determine if the ball should be retrieved in a hit and run maneuver, complete with distractions and decoys or if a sacrificial lamb should be chosen to ask for the return of the ball.

Before a plan could be agreed upon, grouchy faced grandpa tramped out his front door dressed in his yellowed boxers, black knee high socks and tennis shoes. His shirtless belly hung over the loose elastic waistband of his underpants. His combed over hair lay across his scalp in dark, greasy furrows. He scooped up the ball, yelled something obscene in a drunken slur and weaved back to his house, his butt crack waving good-bye.

The kids sat in a line on the round curb like birds resting on a phone wire. Indignity, outrage and plans for revenge increased the ambient temperature. No one went home. Outside meant freedom from prying parental eyes and tedious chores. They decided to play hide and seek until the nice lady came home and returned their ball.

The hiders hid and the counter counted. Right around fifty-nine, the truck rounded the corner. Squeals and laughter, excited calls and feet pounded pavement energized the air. The diesel pickup shot clouds of thick mosquito killing spray from the tank mounted in its bed. The children ran down the street enveloped in the enchanted brume: fumes breathed deep into lungs, eyes burned, nose hairs singed and skin irritated. They frolicked in the foggy fairyland between Avalon and Glastonbury.

14 comments:

  1. What a warm memory on these cold mornings: like spilling coffee in your lap.

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  2. Wow. not what I was expecting to happen in the story!

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  3. Tom: Actually one of my favorites.

    David: We should all have two heads from breathing in those pesticides.

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  4. Okay... now I'm depressed. Did they ever get their ball back? We had an old guy like that in our neighborhood.

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  5. Randall: Don't be sad. When his wife came home, she gave the ball back.

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  6. Well I'm glad they got the ball back. He doesn't sound like a very nice old man.
    It has been a time since I read one of your stories and I forgot how good they were.

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  7. I love this. Brought back fond childhood memories. It's been awhile since I dropped a comment. Hope you are having a lovely life =)

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  8. Dr. John: You are always so sweet.

    John: Fond memories about pesticide clouds?

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  9. I thought this was one of your stories. This was a real memory. Cool. And we all can relate to grouchy neighbors when we were kids.

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  10. Obliviously, I've not been here in a while because of travels and grandchildren...but your first sentence about a hot humid day in August helped to defrost my windshield here on a frigid humid Oklahoma December day.
    Thanks for the visit. Blogging has taken a back seat to other activities. Have a vunderful veekend.

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  11. Swampy: That real life does have a way of intruding.

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  12. Jamie: Just breath deeply. It will be ok.

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