Driving down country roads often trigger good memories for me.
I didn’t live on a street growing up.
We stayed on an acre of land with a big backyard and sideyard that were my playgrounds.
There were times, as a youngster, that I’d get dirt in just about every nook and cranny in my body. You can’t avoid it when you’re running dump trucks and hauling dirt from one end of the driveway to the other.
Seeing all those little “roads,” and tracks from cars and trucks used to make my dad crazy when he’d come home. He’d just zig-zag his way through the maze of toys in hopes that he didn’t run over one or crash into a pine tree that lined one side of the driveway.
Funny how that affected dad because he worked for the Department of Transportation at the time.
Mom just shook her head when I walked up the steps and through the back door.
She’d stop me dead in my tracks.
“How can a boy get so dirty? Drop your clothes here, kiddo. Hit the tub.”
Within about 30 minutes, usually enough time to see my skin wrinkle, I’d climb out of the tub and wrap myself in a big, soft towel. Most of the time I’d watch the water run down the drain and see the sand left behind from my latest excursion.
If dad was awake, I’d climb into his recliner with him and watch TV. His gentle rocking easily put me to sleep.
Once I got older, pick up games of basketball, football and baseball with my buddies filled my afternoons. Of course, I had to get my homework done and finish mom’s chore list before I could step outside.
Like I said, I didn’t live on a street.
The closest neighborhood was a one-mile bike ride on a busy, two-lane highway. If we didn’t play at my house, we’d meet at the store, grab a snack and hang out for an hour or two.
Sometimes we traded in soda bottles for quarters so we could play pinball, foosball (table soccer), air hockey or video games like Pac-Man, Galaga, Centipede, Donkey Kong and Oregon Trail.
We’d get a little rambunctious and over excited at times. Rarely did the store owner ever get on us, though. I think he enjoyed the company despite the noise.
Soon, his phone would ring.
“All right boys, time to go home,” he’d say.
We’d groan a little bit, pop the kickstand on our bike and go our separate ways.
We knew there would always be tomorrow.
Rudy Coggins is the assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.