Today I’m starting a mini series of childhood memories.  We all  have them and aren’t they wonderful? 

     I came from a big, no make that huge family. We were not as big as the Duggars, but who is?  I had nine siblings, poor Momma, with the ages four and no less than two years apart.  Momma was forty-five when I was born.  She thought she was going through menopause when, surprise, it was me.  Some of my siblings were married and had kids of their own by the time I came into this world.  Thus my nephew, and best friend, Clifford was only six months younger than me.  I loved him like a brother.  In my mind I see him now when we were about ten years old.

         He would be bare footed and wearing faded jeans with one leg down to his ankle and the other rolled up almost to his knee and  most of the time he would be shirtless. Though Momma would make him put one on if she saw him.  He was tanned as brown as a Chess-nut.  His jeans rode low on his slim hips because he did not wear a belt. His hair was usually tousled and he had an easy smile for everybody.  All in all I’d say he was a perfect replica of Huckleberry Finn.

     They lived about half a block from us after we moved from the farm into town.  Since his mother was divorced and had to work Clifford spend most of his time at our house.

     School was out for the summer and Clifford, being a boy, was free to roam our small town with his friends.  Since I was a girl and it was in the 50’s I was not granted that freedom.  I stayed home and waited until he had time for me.  We had hours of fun from early morning when the grass was still wet from the dew until the red ball of sun slide down in the west and turned the blue sky a dull gray.  In the evenings after supper we caught fireflies and kept them in an old Mason jar.  We mashed a few and smeared them on our shirts so we glowed in the dark and thought that was cool not gross.

     One of my brothers made both of us a slingshot from small forked tree branches and strips of rubber from an old black inner tube from a car tire.  He secured the rubber to the branch with the string from one of our shoes. That was okay because it was summer and we went bare foot most of the time.  He took the tongues from said shoes and made the little leather pouch that you pinched together around your ammunition, whatever that might be. 

     We spent hours playing cowboy and bad guys or cops and robbers.  We’d hide from each other behind a bush or around the corner of the house with our weapon loaded then we’d pop up and let our ammo fly toward our opponent.  We shot each other with anything from acorns and China Berries to small clods of red clay.  Man those acorns hurt when they hit and they left a red mark that might turn to a bruise.  He was a better shot than me.  I think he had practice with his friends where as my friends wanted to play with dolls.

     Clifford was diagnosed with Lou Garret’s Disease and died a few years ago.  I miss him but I thank God for the sweet memories I have of my best friend and long, hot summer days.

     Thanks for walking down memory lane with me today.  Please come back and we’ll take another trip.  Until then stay safe and God bless.


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