We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Days of Yore

Written By: Charles - May• 24•20

Beltane and the Moon of Sorrow

Sunday gratefuls: Wetness on the way. Hope it’s snow. The Pig who gave its life for our meal. Portuguese mint Rice. Tasty. Old friends. Kate’s wonderful mood. Changing her bandages. Mario’s struggle. The Indy 500. Decoration Day. Mom and Dad. Mary and Mark.

Memorial day weekend. School’s out, school’s out, monkeys let the teachers out! The Decoration Day parade. Baton twirlers. The Alexandria High School band. Tiny flags for the graves of veterans. Heat. Soft asphalt wrinkling under the heavy tread of tanks from the National Guard Armory. Speeches and prayers. Seeing friends and their families lined up along Harrison. All of us waving at various princesses and queens. A red letter day.

Memorial Day was (and still is for me) a demarcation between the rigors and discipline of tests, of class times, of paying attention and the joys of summer. Summer was freedom. Whole days of playing outside, baseball and going to the field.

We’d find a wagon and troll the alleyways of our small town hunting through trash for the prized Coke bottles, other pop bottles. Money! We’d pull our wagons down to Cox’s Super Market and exchange our finds for money. I don’t remember the amounts now, maybe a nickel a bottle?

Popsicles dripping onto our hands, we’d wander down main street looking in the windows at Danner’s and Murphy’s. We might go into Bailey’s drug store for liquid cinnamon to infuse toothpicks.

One of those summer days I bought a small bottle of sulfuric acid. After doing some experiment on a leaf or (hangs head here) an ant, the small bottle went back in my pant’s pocket. I still have a small scar on my left leg from not wiping off the bottle before pocketing it.

The best memories begin at the odd concrete decline that led the way into the Carnegie Library’s basement. Carved into the hillside on which the library itself sat, its sturdy walls and shade offered a cool way into the magic through the old wood and glass doors.

Each summer there was a reading contest. Each summer I read way more than the contest demanded. This was a solitary pleasure, one most of my friends avoided. Riding bikes and going to the swimming pool at Beulah Park were both far more attractive.

Visits to family cranked up in the summer months, too. The Keaton family reunion, a big one during the late fifties and early sixties, gathered in Greenfield at James Whitcomb Riley Park.

This might be the great America that trumpists yearn for. It was a world of black and white tv’s. Cars had fins and Dad always got pictures of the new models early at the Times-Tribune office. Oooh. That ’59 Chevy. Cool. Newspaper boys, myself included, fanning out each evening across the streets and sidewalks, delivering this small town’s daily newspaper.

Happy memories of Memorial Day to you, too.

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