Friday, April 4, 2008

Rubber Boots, Seances, and Stray Cats: The Joys of Childhood

They remind me of running through puddles,
And swimming in May
Collecting rainwater in mayonnaise jars
To rinse the "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" from your hair

They remind me of barefoot-running
on gravel-covered roads
And outdoors without sweaters
And wearing shorts as soon as the daffodils sprung
playing "Spud" on the front lawn

And sleeping outdoors
On Mother's Day Eve
3 houses of kids
Gathering tent stakes
And sleeping bags
And pillows and flashlights
Pop the popcorn
And We're free!

Walking down to the Convenient store
Before it closes
And combining our change
To buy the night's snacks-
Potato chips and candy, packets of Kool-Aid
Just enough for water balloons

Catching the first fireflies of the season
Watching them glow
Playing 2 A.M. kickball
Between neighboring back yards
Until we get caught

Seances in the glow
Of the flashlight-filled tent
Not really scared
The Ouija board writes
"Bring Back the Soul of Mabel Able"

And one by one
Away we drift
We have an alarm clock
We have a plan

Sneaking down the street
In the early a.m.
to borrow flowers
From neighbors yards
To present to our Mothers
In leaking tinfoil vases

The Lilacs in our own yard
Are about to bloom
And soon we'll be picking dandelions
And placing them under our chins
To see if they glow yellow
And to see if we like butter

And not soon after
We race to find
The turned-to-fluff dandelions
Blowing their seeds about
and spreading dandelion cheer

Getting our Pool passes
Stitching them tightly on to our New Bathing suits
Rolling them tightly
in our towels
With the copper-colored pool passes showing
To flash at the attendant
and Run to the locker Rooms

Slathering yourself with Coppertone Butter
To help your tan along
and sneaking little lemon-shaped bottles
from the fridge to squeeze
lemon juice in your hair

Swimming then
and challenging each other
to dive off the high dive
straight on till dinner time

Running through the yard
Under the Logan Berry Tree
Stepping on Fallen Berries
Turning our feet Blue

Finding fallen Robin's eggs
Feeling sad for them
Wondering where they came from
And why they fell

Swinging on the tire swing
Making Forts outside
Playing Tag
And Hide and Seek

Not joining the Library's summer Reading Club
But checking out Books on the Loch-Ness Monster
And Big Foot
And The Guinness Book of World Records
Getting Grossed-out by the World's Longest Fingernails
And Wondering just Where Nessie really is
And if the Foot-Prints are Real

We found
Our Stray Cat "Cola" in the back yard
Having Kittens
We didn't even know She was pregnant

What Joy!

We named them Pepsi and Coca
And made them a Bed
From A Cardboard Box and Towels

Soon They'll be grown
And Become Stray Cats on Their Own
We'll feed them Baloney
And say "They Followed Us Home!"

Mom Says It's Time Already
To Order Next Year's Uniform
Find My Yellow Rubber-Duckie Book Bag

September's Here
And The Pool is Closed
Bed time Returns
And We Begin Again.

I pull on My bright Green Rubber Boots with a deep sigh, and a Spring in my step, and go out to walk my dog and greet the April Morning, and the Puddles and the Mud, and Smile.
Maybe a Stray Cat will follow us home.

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