Playing. It was one of my favorite things to do as a kid. You don’t think of it then, as something specific. Most of us kids would just “Go out and play” on a pretty regular basis. Without thought.
It is funny the things we do, and don’t remember from our childhoods. My memories are sketchy, at best. I don’t remember being indoors all that much. I’m sure we were during the winter months. I guess.
But. I do know this. My favorite time to go out and play was during the summertime, after dinner. We probably had our evening meal all wrapped up by 6 p.m. or so. Dishes and all. Summer. The daylight hours were long, due to the peak tilt of the earth’s positioning with the sun. So that would afford us 3 or so hours of evening playtime…. AND….. thank the heaven’s above….. no homework.
Imagine the wonder. It would typically involve some “mass game” of something in the street. It was too far, and too much time, to go to the school playground. So city streets were our fields of dreams.
Touch football. Wiffleball. Kickball. Pickle. All the kids from Bruce Avenue, and a few from Knecht Drive, would gather en masse. And we would play and play.
If a car would come down the street, everyone would yell… “CAR” and we would all retreat curbside until it passed. This made for timeouts at some of the most inopportune times. But we rebounded. We were playing, and it was summer, and life was good.
As dusk fell over the neighborhood, we would wait for the familiar humming buzz of the street lights. And once those lights warmed up, and came on, we knew the game was over. It never mattered the inning, the score, halftime, or quarter. The streetlights were the final buzzer for the most of us kids on the street.
There were times when we would go on playing. It was just too intensely fun to stop. And a few moments later, our parents would begin to appear on porches, calling out our names, summoning us home. In my case, my Dad would stand on the front steps, cup his hands to his mouth, and do our “familiar whistle.” That was the unmistakable Kronenberger Call.
And without hesitation, I returned home, to 134.
Clear and vivid are those nights in my mind. The smells, the way the air felt. A pillow of humid, at first, which would give way to a coolish evening breeze. The pinkish light that would fill the night just before the streetlights came to life. The sound of that glorious whistle coming from our porch. And running home, to the open arms of my Dad, waiting on the porch.
We are often reminded to stay in the moment, in the now. But oh how I love to drift back in time, to those sweet times of my life. To those lingering memories, which swirl around in my mind. Back to the times, when we would all go out, and “play.” And when the playing was complete, we could go home. And be surrounded with love.
So. Today, I hope you find time to play. And more than that, I hope you know the love, and warmth, of home.
I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
― Maya Angelou
“I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.”
― Lauren Myracle