Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Skate Keys and Sidewalk Cracks

When I was a little kid, I was on wheels all the time. Either I was riding my bike, or I was wearing my skates. I was seldom still. The few times I wasn't on wheels, I was up in the neighbor's apple tree, reading, or hiding from my siblings. I had to go SOMEWHERE for privacy and I didn't have any at home. My siblings laugh, even now, at my desperate need for something and some place of my own, but the fact was - and still is - I have to have it or something in me perishes completely. People who don't have that need don't understand, and never will.

Those skates. The clamps bit into my tennis shoes and made little blisters and then little cuts on the sizes of my toes, but I didn't care. On those skates, I could fly. The soles of my feet had the cracks on our sidewalks completely and thoroughly memorized. I knew instinctively when to let my foot "yield" just a little bit so the cracks and the large mounds of moss in them wouldn't trip me. Even now, I think I would remember the pattern of the sidewalk cracks with my feet.

And how did we tighten those clamps around our poor little toes? With our skate key, of course.

I wore mine on a string around my neck. If I ever lost my skate key, I would lose my ability to fly up and down the sidewalk around our house.

Sure, we fell down sometimes and cut ourselves up pretty thoroughly. Back then, that was called "Duh, I was PLAYING." That's what band-aids were for.

As for kneepads and helmets, we would have laughed at any kid whose mommy made him wear something like that just to play outside. We were kids, and we played outside. We weren't fat and we ate pretty much whatever was put on our plates because all that activity made us genuinely hungry, and because Mom told us to. We only watched TV on Saturday mornings and sometimes a half-hour or so in the evening, and we were in bed by nine thirty.

And if we didn't WANT to go to bed then, we did anyway. We were not the bosses in our house and we knew it. If we fussed and carried on, there would be consequences and we knew what those would be and we chose to behave ourselves and obey.

I still have my skate key. It's in my jewelry box. I keep it there because, to me, it's a jewel.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:06 AM | |


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