Childhood

April 22, 2010
As far back as I can remember I loved to be outdoors as a child. Throughout my childhood I had The O’R’s across the street to me. My neighborhood once only consisted of a lone gravel road with all but four houses on it. My parents had built the second house on the road, after the farmhouse. Soon, larger houses went up and the gravel road developed into a mile-long, fully paved neighborhood, shaped as a circle.

Throughout the school year my childhood friends and I got together after school to play, especially in the summers. Miranda O’R. and I would be outside for hours climbing trees, exploring the forests, or riding our bikes. When we grew tired of the outdoors, we’d spend time mastering video games, and building up levels on Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Brothers all day with her brother. What a great duo we were! We spent summer days with Kool-Aid in our stomachs, and seemed to eat only Little Debbie snacks. Miranda and I went everywhere together and spent countless nights watching horror movies that were far too mature for us, but that didn’t hold us back from watching them.

I remember one day in particular where I was over at the O’R’s one summer. I was only about 12 years old.

“We’re having a bon-fire tonight! You and your family are invited.” Miranda’s mom, Terri told me.

I rode my shiny purple bike down the road as fast I could back to my house. The wind whipped my hair around crazily. Down the hill in between our houses I rode. Letting my sandaled feet off the petals, waving them around, catching the air on my thing legs I booked it up the long driveway, dropping my bike in the grass as I ran inside. Later that night my parents, my brother, Tony, and I walked over to the O’R’s. I have always loved going to their bon fires. They never had diminutive-like fires. They had gigantic fires! Fires that forced you to stand at least 10 feet away to be comfortable, fires that blazed to the stars, and spit sparks at you.

That night all the neighbor kids who came to the bonfire decided to go around the circle and ding dong ditch some houses. There were five of us total, Elliott, Jeff, Tony, Miranda, and I. Miranda and I were the youngest. We came upon the P’s house. The couple who lived there were in their mid 40’s, with a girl a little younger than me. Elliott, the oldest, with Jeff ran up to the house like ninjas in only the light of the moon, while Miranda, Tony, and I were across the street in the weedy ditch. The grass tickled me and it felt like bugs were crawling over me, but that didn’t distract me or anyone else. We were in the ditch, on our bellies watching closely. The oldest kids had the seniority to get the first house. Jeff and Elliott got to the red front door, their silhouettes seemed small in contrast with the large house that stood 3 stories over them.

The boys rang the doorbell and took off down the front lawn. Their legs moved in fast blurs, our hearts thumped in our chests. Elliott and Jeff joined us in the weeds. We shrunk closer to the ground as the front lights came on. I couldn’t see anything in the windows, and the door didn’t open, but the light stayed on. We snickered as the lights finally turned off.

Elliott nudged at my arm and said, “Let’s do it again.” It was show time. Tony and I dodged and covered behind the small pine trees in the front yard as we made our turn up to the door. We had to be more careful, and make our moves as a team, in case there was someone watching. With hand motions and lip reading we made it to the front door!

My nerves got to me. I jumped the gun, opened the screen door, and rapped a few times on the door. Tony whipped his head to me, mouth open, eyes large and shocked. We ran as fast as our legs would take us. I dropped to all fours after I sprinted across the road. I then turned around to lie on my stomach to watch. I was out of breath, and the summer heat was making me sticky. Just then, the front light turned on. This caught our attention. Elliott claimed he could see a shadow behind the window on the side of the door in the shape of a man. We laid there with big grins on our faces as we watched patiently until the light turned off. Jeff and Tony went up another time, this time the man must’ve been ready, because as the boys were sneaking up the yard, the man came out of the front door fist in the air. Tony and Jeff stopped abruptly in their step and with their arms flying they took off towards the road, with Mr. P yelling at us. We all ran, following Jeff and Tony, laughing hard, yelling our goodbyes to Mr.P, and shouting into the night.

You see, this wasn’t the first time we had targeted the P’s house. It was an event we never skipped in the summer. Sometimes we had some other kids join us. That was the last year we hassled Mr.P. My childhood has been engraved eternally into my soul. As Kahlil Gibran once said, “The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The beautiful thing in life is our souls remaining over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves.” I truly understand this quote and stand by it, because your childhood will always stay with you.





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