My eyes open. It is MORNING! I jump out of bed with my feet running! (Obviously this is not 2009...think back about 20 years!). We, as in my 2 brothers and I , go downstairs to get ready. We make the phone calls. Which is silly since everyone knows where we are going and everyone is going to be there. We grab our mitts and our bats and we are out the door. No I don't eat breakfast and no I don't apply sunscreen. It is summer for crying out loud.
We gather at the ball field. With the cool morning chill and some players wiping at their sleepy eyes, we walk down the hill (no need to use the steps!). There were about 10 or so of us. On most days, it was me and one other girl. For some reason the boy population took over our small, dusty town. So you ran with the boys or didn't go at all. We picked teams. We usually just involved a "you there, you there..." And we played. All morning and into the afternoon. For awhile I was the only one who was able to hit B's curve ball. So the rest of the kids banned it. A fly ball into the outfield was a home run. We hit and ran. Screamed and probably cursed. We were our own umpires which is where a lot of trouble began....and it usually centered around my head strong brother. (The Air Force one now! ;) )Screaming over a call would begin. Yelling name calling. All things 10 year olds do. Either the fight would send us all home or my mother blowing her whistle.
We went home and had lunch. I was always pretty sun burnt by then. Somedays we went back to the field. But a lot of days it was too hot. There was one tree we would all gather under (and never all fit). Sometimes we would go to the park. Mess around under the pavilion. Or ride bikes. Or mess around in the woods. Summer days were long and we were tired. We would return to our homes before dark to check in. The darkness brought games like "man hunt" and others. And we were happy.
We were all from the same town but had very different lives. Came from very different families. In school we fell into different groups. Some might not even wave to others in the hall. But summer time was different. We played, fought, and laughed. It truly was like one of those old time movies! A little town and a crowd of kids. I hope my children are able to find that kind of happiness. A childlike joy of hitting homeruns and running the bases in bare feet. Coming home tired and sunburnt.
I think of all those guys on summer days like today. Years later. One of them is gone now. Died too young. He was a kid with a firey temper but I had seen him cry. Cry with me. A couple are married. A lot of us have kids. Kids who look like us!! Some of us live around here and some states away. I wonder if they think of us from time to time??