Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shootin', Swimming, and Sleeping Under The Stars

I'm not quite sure whether this year and the next couple after, are going to be the best years of Zach's life or the best years of mine. I still haven't decided who is having more fun right now. Zach and all his comings and goings, or me watching.

I went to high school in the late 1970's early 1980's. Weed was rampant and alcohol parties were frequent. Smart kids were not cool and pot heads were trouble. So where did a normal, alright looking  girl like me fit in? I wasn't the girl the Quarterback dated. And I didn't feel comfortable with the smart boys. I inevitably ended up dating what we called the bad boy 'pot heads' back then. I was the 'different/good girl" if that makes any sense. I didn't drink, I didn't do drugs, and I wasn't promiscuous. Because that group of guys seemed to be able to find that kind of girl anywhere. Girls like me, good girls that liked them, were hard to find. They looked up to me. Because I didn't look down on them. Maybe that was the attraction.

All that being said, I stayed at home a lot of my high school life. My parents would have never let me date the boys I liked, so I stayed at home and watched a LOT of television. If there were kids hunting deer, camping out, and fishing, I didn't know any of them. I went to a school where the graduating class was a population of almost 400 children. And we all lived in the city. All of the ones I knew anyway. In houses or apartments on concrete and little plots of grass. There were no backyard bonfires or marsh-mellow toasting over open flames. No burning in the city limits.  The only bonfires I ever heard about involved keg parties and I wasn't cool enough to be invited. And if I had been, I couldn't have gone or really wanted to.

I was thirty five years old before I saw a cow at close up range, multiple deer in my yard, raccoons, or wild-eyed possums. Trash piles in your yard you let get high as the sky before you threw a party to burn it down. Roast hot dogs and sit around in lawn chairs on warm summer nights or cold winter days, laughing and talking about anything, everything, and everybody. 

Zach learned how to ride a bike on grass and dirt, no concrete where we lived. Josh had a go kart and plenty of property to ride it on. Sitting on the front porch swinging way into the night talking, laughing and sometimes singing. The smell of Mims cigar wafting through the country night air and Zach's little feet nowhere near touching the ground.

And now, he's driving. And doing. Everything. Going everywhere, doing everything. Swimming in mine holes, swinging from ropes and hollering like Tarzan. Fishing and swimming with the alligators. Tires thick with red mud from struggles getting in the hole. Burning through 500 bullets a day shooting squirrels. Playing drums and electric guitars on hot summer nights and me sitting on the back porch steps listening. Standing up for his rights in Police Stations refusing to be intimidated or mistreated.

And a key. His first grade teacher owns land at the mine hole. Zach is granted one of the holy keys to the gate that stays locked. The gate that lets him into heaven here on earth. They begin to clear some of the land. Making way for a camp site. Digging a log pit. For days and days they work to get it ready. A group of really good boys. They don't drink or do drugs, but can still have the time of their lives.

I hope they always believe in clean, good times. For now, Zach is insistent nothing but clean will enter his body. Clean, good foods and liquids. Milk and water. I don't remember the last time I saw him drink a soda. He's up by 7am every single day, working, school or not. And most nights in bed by 9pm. He never stops going, stops doing, or stops working.

Maybe it's the country living. Maybe once you leave the concrete and city behind, you can only see good clean living. All I know is they are all having the time of their lives. I love listening to their funny stories and watching them get the most out of what life has to offer.

I wish I had known this group of kids when I was in school. But then, I know, you are where you are, by the steps it took to get from where you were. And I'd rather be right here, right now, more than anything else in this world. So I'll take what I get to see now. From the sidelines. From the back porch steps. From afar. For as long as I get to see it. Good times. Wonderful memories. For us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment