Neighborhood Memories

Wind rushing past, tugging at clothes and hair, sends the pulse racing until a collision with the dark loam reins in the momentary thrill. When you’re ten, the consequences are easy to ignore: the grass stains, a scratch, a bruise. Jump to your feet, race back to the porch, climb the railing, and leap. A brief moment of freefall, a slap from the laws of physics, roll-over, and repeat.

If you’re lucky, friends will cheer you on. If not, they land on you, sending stars across your field of vision, leaving you to sniff back tears, search your arms for contusions, and nose for blood. Hurt? Nah, shake it off. That baby tooth needed to come out anyway.

Weekends meant crawling through the neighborhood bushes, behind garages, and over gravel driveways until an adult began baying your name. As long as your middle name didn’t drift on the breeze, it was safe to ignore the summons.

Unless the prospect of being fed was involved, then all bets were off. Even chucking rocks over the garage into the Linkletter’s yard could not compete with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — manna from the gods.

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