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Railroadties and Candy Bars

Ever day it seems, I recall a better time and a better place. For whatever reason, I do not have to be in a good mood or a bad mood. It just comes and goes. This time and place is one that we have all shared in one form or another on a playground, while riding a bike, or just hanging out with friends. The time is, of course, childhood, the place depends on whos recollection it s. As this is the authors recollection, the time and place shall be Oklahoma City, Oklahoma anytime before the age of thirteen.

Nothing, it seemed, was with limits, nothing had ends or beginnings. The word eath was just as foreign as the word life. Everyday was pretty much the same as the day before. My parents would drop me off at school several hours early (they both had 6 to 8 jobs) and I would start my day staring blankly at a television for several hours before going to recess. Recess is something that will forever baffle me. The best part of the school day, taken away before you enter high school, then given back as you enter higher education. Then school started. The so called 3 Rs (though I am fairly certain that it is two Rs and one A) made up the rest of the day.

The lunch, then school for one more hour or so, then recess till your parents came and picked you up. Go home, eat, wash up, go to bed, repeat. No responsibility whatsoever. It was absolutely lovely. That particular time, as odd as this may sound to some, was much more beautiful. At one time ones peers were too involved in the same sort of activities that everyone else was doing to develop a genuine, opinionated outlook on life via parental and/or societal influences.

In short, kids are simplistic. Few kids ask with any care to how the parents will answer, Whats in this lollipop? or How do those balloons float?. Most kids simply enjoy them because they are. As a child I was so in awe of the sun that I did not heed my parents constant warnings that it would hurt my eyes. I am now paying the consequences for those actions, but at the time, it simply did not matter. I did not care what it was made of, why it moved, or why it burned my eyes; it was beautiful. Amongst my interest in staring at the sun, I have noticed that during that time and place, the smallest things would keep me occupied. I was never bored.

Whether I was sing a magnifying glass to burn the tires on the playground, or play on the Big-Toy, or try to balance myself while walking across railroad ties, or how a candy bar fixed anything and everything. This is the most unique part of childhood for me. As I grow older I lost interest in these things and had to find replacements which, like anything, would be replaced in time too. I find that when I talk about childhood that the simple things are what I miss the most. Like the heat of the asphalt on a hot summers day, the girls with cooties, the epic soccer matches between rival groups.

All of these things were Oklahoma, somewhere between pre-natal nothing and a teenager. Not much for some, but a horde of good things for me. Nothing compares to the fun I had. Everything was gigantic, but conquerable, everything was open and vast. It was not like now, where things are small and puny. Where you know why those balloons float, where you will forego eating the lollipop because of the calorie content. Where you can sit around, eating a candy bar, dreaming of a time when you were sitting, eating a candy bar, and dreaming about a time when you will be older.

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