Friday, January 18

Summer Feet


School’s out:

it’s finally all about SUMMER

and flyin’ kites or sailin’on bikes

the longest sissy-bar types

peddle like crazy to coast forever

‘cause it’s really wicked weather

in the blistering heat of mid-day.

We can do anything we want to, mister,

ain’t nobody to say not to

just play all day long if we want to...

we can pant like dogs in the shade

and plan espionage games

and pick killing teams, A and B.

Then mama gives a holler

to take us a dollar to Bert’s Market

on the corner

and buy an ice-cold orange Nehi

or a drumstick cone,

a pocket-full of 2 cent bubble gum

and a Captain America for my brother.

The black asphalt is tacky and hot

it’s gonna be at least a six minute walk -

that’s “boss”, man!

You better hope the lights are all green.

You gotta take a whole lotta heat

to run across the street

in Summer bare-feet.

* One of the first summer rituals after the final school bell was the abandonment of shoes and socks, cold-turkey. Our pink, tender “sissy” feet must be brutalized immediately to withstand our many anticipated outdoor exploits. Tortuous puncture weeds, slivers, fox-tails, rocks and the occasional shard of glass would be repelled by our tough, treasured “summer feet” once we got them conditioned properly. Plucking out a crippling, 3-pronged puncture weed sticker with a shrug or effortlessly scaling a 6 foot chain-link fence was only possible with truly seasoned feet and toes.

Finally, the ultimate test of nerves and crusty, blackened soles were the formidable stretches of sizzling asphalt between us and ice-cold soda pop at tiny little 3 parking space Bert’s Market. Popping the metal lids off on the bottle-opener posted on the wall outside the front door was a kid version of the old time barbershop where you could say “hey”and compare Bazooka Bubble Gum comics with guys from somewhere other than our street.

We were outside all day long. We could have been miles away by 10 AM and mama never would have been the wiser. Thankfully for her sake, kids are rather territorial, so we rarely ventured too far beyond Jellico Avenue.

The whole world, it seemed, and everything we could ever want or need was right in our own back yards, the resourceful vacant lot on the corner, or good ol’ Bert’s with the green ‘Time for a Refreshing 7-Up’ sign on the wooden framed screen door. Getting there on hand-me-down bikes or leather-tough bare feet under-scored our giddy Summer freedom.

~ From 'Station Wagon Wars' ~ growing up in the 60's by cTanner

1 comment:

Yaj said...

Loved it! Sounded like our summers too. We didn't go far (in the jungles of downtown D.C.) - only to the Novelty Shop for plastic army men or the Avalon Theater next door and then on to People's Drug for a cherry coke... didn't need shirts and shoes for service! My dog always came along and waited outside. Our feet and bikes were abused all summer. I learned all my sports and skateboarding barefoot, in the alleys or streets, until dark. Wow, I'm old...