The summertime of my memories is filled with adventure. There is no better place in summertime to be than on a farm. The majority of the “chores” are done with the planting of the crops so a young boy is free to adventure through the growing fields.
There were no video games, in fact TV was black and white, only had 3 channels and you had to change those channels by going up to the box and rotating a dial. Sometimes you were forced to stand in a certain place holding a wire coat hanger to get the best reception. Staying in your room was not only “NOT DONE” but it wasn’t even conceived of. Your room was for sleeping and changing and nothing more. The place to be was NOT in front of a computer screen or TV screen but outside, you know the place that shows up on your screen saver.
I would be up early and munch down my Wheaties or Corn Flakes with fresh milk from the cow I had to milk. I would be outside as soon as I could pull on my raggedy Keds. If the rains had come I would spend the day playing in the farm ditches. I would build canals that ran water towards my mud town. I would spend hours building a mud community complete with homes, schools, and churches. I would build bridges with small sticks and well-placed mud as mortar. Sometimes I would take out my Matchbox cars and even build garages for them. Noon would pass and I would forget about lunch. Mom wouldn’t call out, dad wouldn’t send out a search party. They know when the sun started setting I would mosey home. After hours of architectural work I would survey my realm; it was time. The creek would be a calm flow until I decided to open the flood gates. Then the floods came. I watches in adolescent glee as the water washed away hours of work; taking my houses, churches, schools and Matchbox with it. When all was gone I would jump into the ditch to find my cars and maybe a few tadpoles I could take home in a jar to watch turn into frogs. Happy with a complete summer day I would make my way back home as the sun was setting and ask mom to help me get the dozen leaches off my legs and arms.
Hours of building only to destroy. Stripping to my tighty-whities to play in a ditch. Taking new toys and burying them in mud and water. Spending 12 hours on my own as a 7-8 year old without adult supervision. Gleefully plucking leaches off my body. All these things would put a modern day psychologist into shock. They would have taken me away from my parents and into a “good” home. They would have sent me to a child psychologist trying to discover the roots of my “destructive tendencies.” They would have put me on some kind of drug to calm me down and make me want to set in front of a screen of some kind “like a good child should.”
I miss the summertime of my childhood, but not just for me. I miss the summertime of my childhood because my grandchildren will never experience it in today’s society of protection, prevention and drug induced calmness. I miss THAT summertime.