Friday, June 24, 2005

Remembering My Childhood

Tagged again! Oh, when will the madness end? Can't we all just play Red Rover or King of the Monkey Bars? Sorry. Has anyone seen my medication? That's better.

Jeannie at Sharing Life tagged me while I was too far off base, so now I get to have a flashback sequence.

The question is five things you miss about childhood.
(1) Innocence - Frankly, I don't know how I listened to all those 60's and 70's pop songs without really thinking about all the buried and not-so-buried sexual innuendo in the lyrics. To listen to them now makes me think, "Was I really singing that song while walking around the house? In front of my parents??" I miss not seeing the suggestive side of most everything on TV. But beyond that, I miss not being weighed down by all the concerns of the world. I didn't give much thought to the war in Vietnam. My mind was on other things. I didn't think much about world hunger. I was wondering what Mom was cooking for supper. I know that I've become a more caring person now, but I miss simply being innocent.

(2) Freedom - I know what you're thinking... freedom? As a kid? Yeah, to a certain degree. I mean aside from doing my chores and getting to school or baseball practice, I really didn't have much I had to do. I would have had no need for a Palm Pilot or a DayTimer. If I felt like going back to our woods to play, I could do it (provided I let an adult know where I was). I was allowed to ride my bike all over the place. We lived in the country, about a mile from town, so there were all kinds of cool places I could go on my bike. These days, as I look at my calendar to see where I have to be next, I miss the freedom I used to have.

(3) My hometown - As I said, we lived about a mile from town. "Town" was very small - around 1000 people. But in those days even a town of 1000 had shops which held all kinds of curiosities for a young mind. I can still walk down the sidewalks of that town and remember what each building used to hold. The drug store, with it's wide selection of candy bars. The cafe where my Dad and his buddies gathered every morning to drink coffee and talk. The Dime Store where I could buy all kinds of trinkets and bulk candy scooped up and bagged just for me. The barber shop where I had the choice of hair styles -- the "schoolboy" or the "butch" -- the barber didn't know any others, I think. The doctor's office, the carpet store, the butcher shop, the fabric store and the bank. Then off the main block was the library where I participated in the Summer Reading Program for most every year I lived there. And on the edge of town was the grocery store where we stocked up every week.

It's funny. My wife grew up in a similar, although slightly larger town. Now we live just two miles from a town of around 1000 people. Not a lot of storefronts after the grocery store went out of business a couple of years ago, but it feels like home. Or at least as much like home as I can hope for. Even my old hometown doesn't feel much like my old hometown anymore.

(4) Playing baseball - Is there anything quite as unique as a game of baseball played by kids? As the father of two boys who play on two different teams (and one 3 year old girl who thinks she can play on any team), I see a whole lot of baseball. But I don't play anymore. In fact, my oldest boy uses my old mitt from high school. I'd have to bum a glove just to take infield.

I played ball all through school. There were little league games, pony league games, travelling teams and school teams. But what I miss the most is the pickup games at recess or after school. A makeshift infield, an old bat and a bunch of kids with gloves. We'd choose up sides then one captain would toss the bat to the other and the two would go hand over hand to the knob at the end to see who would bat first. We weren't in it to be heroes or to show off. We were just having fun. Like the kids in the movie The Sandlot we all shared the love of spending a warm afternoon throwing the ball and running the bases.

(5) Grandpa Norris - He was a quiet man with a quirky sense of humor. I enjoyed being around him, as I did all of my grandparents. But at this point in my life I see that Grandpa Norris and I shared some special things. Our personalities were similar (yes, I'm often the quiet one with the goofy sense of humor). We each left secular work to enter the ministry in our 30's. We each pastored small country churches. And we shared the same sense of wanting to see things that no one else saw -- call it the road less travelled because Grandpa got us lost on more than one occasion just driving around to see what he could find.

I miss Grandpa Norris as a figure from my childhood, naturally. But I also miss him knowing how much more I would appreciate having him around now. I heard him preach many times, but I can't tell you what he preached about at any time. I was too young to appreciate him. I would love to be able to sit down with him now and ask him about his call to the ministry; about attending seminary while trying to support a family like I did. I'd love his opinions on power struggles in a small church. And I'd just love to talk about his love of Jesus -- not just theology, but relationship. In a sense, I'm missing an opportunity that I never had.

Wow. That was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be.

Remove the first person from the following list, bump everyone up one spot and put your name in the number 5 spot. Please link all of the blogs as they are linked now or risk future blog-shunning. (GASP! NOT "BLOG-SHUNNING!" OH, THE HUMANITY!) Oh, alright...
Journaling through the valley
Threefold Cord
Anne's Cafe
Sharing Life
Attention Span

Now, select four unsuspecting souls and add them to the list...
No. So shun me. As I've mentioned, I'm a chain breaker. But I invite anyone to take up the challenges of FlashbackLand. Post a comment if you're brave enough.

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