The nostalgia bug crawls up everyone’s pant leg, at least once in a while. One of the things I miss most about home and the time in which I grew up, is all the freedom I had to wander around town at night. We played outside long after dark–rode our bicycles, or walked everywhere we went–snooping around the lumberyard and hiding in the timber and old buildings, playing Kick-the-Can (which was a hepped-up version of hide-n-seek), or just doing typical kid-stuff on the playground. We had nighttime sledding parties with bonfires and the mechanic/owner of the service station, would give us tractor tire inner-tubes to use as sleds. Dad and I would often bundle up and go for late evening walks in the snow and quiet of town–talking about school, or my brothers’ latest antics.
My family owned the same home for nearly 30 years, though I never had a key to it. The door was never locked unless everyone was in bed. The car keys were never missing because they could always be found in the ignition. It was the cliché sleepy little town–with no traffic lights, and few street signs for most of my life there. I didn’t learn my street address until I was in my 20s. The new signs were preceded by an unfortunate incident in which ambulance drivers couldn’t find the home in need because streets and houses weren’t properly marked. Most of the folks in town had P.O. Boxes. Ours was P.O. Box 177. I won’t share the lock’s combination just in case (like most of the town) it hasn’t changed!