When we were young so many dreams occupied our time and thoughts: some with vivid pictorial views of white sands and soft blue waters of the Caribbean; some with the cowboy West and Johnny Mack Brown; some with heroic gallantry and deeds framed in our minds with technicolor brilliance. Our youth was dappled with the colors of our high school football, basketball, and track colors, young and pretty ladies wearing their ‘steady beau’s’ sweater with the school letters. There were hamburgers, French fries, and milk shakes at the local drive-ins with our pals and sweethearts, filtering through the rumors of the day and week.
A happy home with loving family members made the journey through youth joyous and unforgettable… For some…
When we were young so many dreams came in dark and gray flashes of angry parents, or, an itinerant alcohol-laced father visiting over a weekend, serving up ugly fights with Mom, spanking the kids with a hickory switch, and leaving indelible black holes of terror in the memory cells. Yet, there were the moments for wakeful dreaming about those heroic deeds and pretty damsels waiting for her hero to come and save the day.
When we were young there were friends to envy and respect, friends who somehow intelligently knew the difference in cultural divides and stood by the emotionally anguished and made youth enjoyable and still a viable part of life: a football mate, a school-skipping pal who ran with you all the coach-imposed laps the next day at practice that they knew would come from their absence the previous day; the summer plunges and competitive dives off the highest board in the community swimming pool.
And, there were some when we were young who just couldn’t make it through youth, through some corruptible lawless channel, an anger that could not be subdued, or an awful vengeance curse.
So, ‘when we were young’ was similar for many of us on several levels, and, while we cannot forgive those who are born of bad DNA seed, we might be mindful of that old and now tired bromide, ‘We all have to be from some place’!
Billy Ray Chitwood – August 14, 2017
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