“Of course, in our grade school, in those days, there were no organized sports at all. We just went out and ran around the school yard for recess.”

The morning is ugly. It is only 65° and cloudy and damp. The day won’t get much better though it will get just a bit warmer, up to 68°. It’s time to break out those bathing suits! The dogs have been out a while. They enjoy this weather. I figure, though, they’ll soon be inside as it is morning nap time.

When I was a kid, our dog Duke was not allowed on furniture, but he was a smart dog. At night he slept on the couch. We knew but never caught him. When we walked downstairs in the morning, we could hear him get off the couch, but he always greeted us at the foot of the stairs. When he was really old, he slept in my bedroom on my shaggy white rug, the one with a bite out of it from my hamster who had pulled part of the rug into its cage, chewed off a piece and made quite the comfy bed.

When I was a kid, the weekdays were all the same. My mother woke me up, and I went downstairs where breakfast was already on the table. After breakfast, I’d get dressed, grab my school bag and lunch box then leave for school. It wasn’t a long walk. It was a straightway once I got down the hill, maybe about two blocks. In school, it was the same subjects in mostly the same order every day. The only differences were art and music which alternated days. We ate lunch, had recess then finished the day. I walked home.

My whole week sounds boring, but it never was. I was a kid. I didn’t know boring. Every day was an adventure. Walking to school sometimes meant collecting the colorful leaves. Other days my friend and I skipped to school. I always think of skipping as joyful. In the school yard, before the bell, we met up with friends and chatted though we had seen each other the day before and the day before that. When the nun rang the hand bell, we lined up class by class and two by two in sort of a Noah’s ark impression without the animals. We stored away out jackets in the cloak room, and the day began in earnest.

When I got home, I changed from my school clothes and went out to play, depending on the weather. My friends and I often played games like Red Light, Hide and Seek or Simon Says. In the warmer days, we explored the field and woods below my house. I can still see that field and the dead tree at the end of the field. One giant limb of that tree was across the path. We could have walked around it but we never did. We climbed over it. Kids do that. Easy wasn’t aways fun.

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4 Comments on ““Of course, in our grade school, in those days, there were no organized sports at all. We just went out and ran around the school yard for recess.””

  1. Beto Says:

    There wasn’t very much Cedar here back then. We had huge Oaks in thick groves. Arrowheads and flint chips littered the ground within their confines. Climbing the biggest ones was a public status symbol of individual courage. One in particular was on the edge of a cemetery at the top of Lafayette Heights where the graves of wealthy land owners go back to the middle 19th century. Massive granite monuments. That huge tree was known as “The Big Tree” and climbing it to the top was a notch on your coup stick that bore instant respect. One summer, the Highway department built Interstate 35 below the ridge and we scavenged discarded 2×8 form boards and 16 penny nails by the dozen. Thus began the “Big Tree” tree house project. We built a 12×12 platform about 65 feet up in the tree. The view was spectacular. On Saturdays you could see the UT football games in Memorial Stadium. Especially the night games. Back then you could still see the Milky Way in Austin when the moon was dark. Six years later the city built a service garage next to the lot and tore the platform down. Laying on that platform at night in a strong wind was transformative. It was like floating on the ocean. It is the source for two of my poems.

    The Climbing Tree
    We ran all day and climbed the trees
    Without the fear of falling
    But with respect for gravity
    And always felt it calling

    We rode in cars without air bags
    The steel dashboard projecting
    On slick hard seats in front and back
    With no seat belts protecting

    We ate the food called poison now
    And still grew into Titans
    Because we ran or rode our bikes
    And did our own fist fightin’

    We heard an independent call
    And hated slavery’s chains
    We roamed at will and rode the waves
    And suffered freedom’s pains

    That one or two were taken out
    Pursuing freedom’s verve
    Was caution tale and understood
    And served to steel our nerve

    Yet now the children prattle by
    In uniforms once earned
    A tear comes to my wizened eye
    And lesson hard is learned

    The pain that you’re protecting from
    Was once a stage of growth
    So choose between adult or child
    You cannot have them both

    The Night
    Deep, dark, mysterious
    The night goes on before.
    Dappled on its inky fabric,
    Tiny bits of light
    Tease of life unknown.
    We have such a luxury,
    That day divides our Night.
    But out beyond our shores,
    There is only the Night.
    So as I float and dream,
    Upon the blessed waters,
    I submit to the Eternal Night.
    Its wondrous chasm frees me.
    For all I’ve ever been,
    Or all will ever be,
    There is only this one moment.
    Floating free.
    In the cryptic chasm of the Night.

    The grand oaks teach us patience.
    Yet grasp they ever for the day.
    And muse in ancient verbs
    Abstruse tomes, written by the wind.
    But in this magic moment
    Enlightened by the unfathomable,
    The oaks and wind sing a secret song.
    Renewing their fealty to the Night.
    And I have my martial music,
    That I may march into the infinite.
    The Night

    • katry Says:

      I grew up in the days of “free grazing” children. Your first poem describes perfectly the time when I was growing up. We ate fruits off the vine and blueberries off bushes. My father pulled our sleds behind his car in winter. We walked on the ice on the swamp. We walked railroad tracks and played at playgrounds where all the apparatus was metal which got hot in the sun. I remember pumping the swing as high as I could so I could jump off. I remember trying to climb the water tower but the ladder was too high, but I kept trying. We also tried to lure horses to the fence so we could ride them. I would have killed myself riding bareback. I never ever rode even with a saddle. I slept in the backyard and saw all those stars and the Milky Way.

      When I lived in Ghana, the nights were magnificent. There were few lights so the sky was brilliant. I could even read by the moon and the stars. I would lie in my yard and get lost in the night sky and fall asleep in its beauty.

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is a warmer version of yesterday. Today we hit 95°.

    Routine is very comfortable. Nowadays, I get up every morning between 6:30 and 7:00, shave, shower, get dressed and have a cup of coffee as I catch up on my email on my iPad. I leave for work about thirty minutes later. I drink my second cup at work, eat a package of Ritz crackers with peanut butter, and do my morning workout teach a class. At lunch there’s some variety between the soup of the day or a sandwich in the company cafeteria. I complete the workday by 4:30. Weekends vary somewhat depending what’s going on. I would have done well in the military because I enjoy regimentation. My spouse, on the other hand, likes change. I’m amazed that she hasn’t moved all the furniture around since we moved into this house two years ago.

    This past Sunday we went to a charity fundraiser which was held at, “Top Golf”. It’s a very Hi Tech golf driving range. You drink a lot while you hit golf balls into electronic targets and get points. I hit twenty balls and decided that golf is too frustrating of a game for me, even having nothing but Diet Coke to drink. 🙂 The fundraiser was a nice diversion for a couple of hours. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We stayed in the low 60’s today, and it will be the same tonight. Tomorrow will be our warm day at 70°.

      I am flexible with my days. If something comes up, I can pretty much go with it. When I worked, most days were the same because I had to get up at a certain time to get to work on time. I liked to be there by 6:30 to plan my day. Breakfast was just coffee, and lunch was usually a sandwich from the car unless they had something special.

      That sounds like a fun day. I am not a golfer but I would have given it a try!

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