April 24, 2014 Leave a comment
One summer, my dad built a wooden lemonade stand for me and my sister. We christened it, “C & S Cool Stand” probably with a fight about whose initials would go first. “S & C” would have been fine by me, for the record. The lemonade wasn’t a big seller but popsicles were. We sold box after box of Mr. Freeze pops. We had the neighbor kids knocking on our door after hours to buy them.
When we weren’t selling addictive liquid sugar, we played kickball and freeze tag in the yard across the street. A family of six lived there. They had children similar in age to our family. We walked to the same school near by and some of us were in classes together.
The youngest was a boy my age. If we stood facing one another we could have visually defined an opposite. He was tall. I was not. He had dark brown almost black eyes and I had light blue. His hair was shiny and dark. Mine was reddish gold. His skin was olive as if toasted to perfection. My skin was fair with pink hues. We were dark to light shades in a scale of contrast in culture and family life. His family went to church every Sunday morning and evening and gave an impression of a unified front..gatekeepers of their flock. They seemed to have a calm and organized life.
Across the street… my dad drove a company doughnut van and we all spilled out of a huge brown and blue oldsmobile station wagon. My older sister and brother had cool highschool friends who could drive and were always staying for dinner. They had paper routes and we’d help fold the papers into throwable tubes snapping rubber bands on before tossing them into their friends car. Our house was chaotic, noisy, wild with an unpruned yard. That was the last house my parents lived in together. Their relationship crumbled like the side of a mountain sliding into an inevitable separation… but have since chosen new and good for them spouses.
Back in the day this boy and I had so much fun together. We skated and rode bikes. We kicked the soccer ball at the stone wall in my yard for hours chasing and kicking it to bounce off again and again. We climbed the ‘laughy-taffy’ tree and played roller hockey on the street pausing every ten minutes to let cars pass. My sister and I would try to make him mad by calling him by his entire name -first-middle-last- and rhyming jokes. We played King of the Castle and jumped over the ferocious snapping alligator in the water drainage ditch. We played pogs and made tent hammocks. I remember details like his dog, Scout and the whistle melody his parents used to call him home. His mother was the most beautiful lady with roots from South America. She pruned trees and grew aromatic flowers. They were a good family..genuinely kind, nice and interesting people..some of my best memories were hurrying through dinner so I could go back outside and play. In the summers we stayed out until dark or when he heard the whistle from his parents porch or we heard the call to come back home.
One day last week I drove down the street on my way home from an appointment. The office was close to that neighborhood. I hear things every now and then about who got married or where they might live now. I had talked with my sweet opposite friend on facebook for a while. He had finished school, married a beauty and had gorgeous babies with dark hair and happy faces. That makes me smile to know all of that goodness was waiting for him just around his corner while we ate popsicles and played kickball. I like remembering that good things happened and more goodness could be around all of our corners…