My best childhood memory?  Really?  I don't think I have a best memory.  They're all amazing, or at least almost all anyway.  I had a really great childhood.  (Thank you, Mom and Dad, I appreciate it.)  But, since the March challenge requires it...


When I was about five years old, we lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the sewer system needed to be replaced in front of our house.  At least, I assume that's what was happening.  All I remember is that suddenly there were construction workers and jack hammers going for days that turned into weeks, and a lovely four foot deep hole opened up on the side of the road in front of my house.  (I assume it was around four feet deep, because otherwise, how would a five-year-old be able to climb in and out?  I do remember that the street level was just barely over my head when I stood in the hole.)  Every summer evening, we neighborhood kids would wait until the workers had gone for the day, and then we had a blast swinging from the lower bar of the safety blockade into the square cutout beneath the street.  The black asphalt felt warm and wonderful against my skin in the evenings, the cool pebbles at the bottom of the hole shifted appealingly under my bare feet, and the gigantic concrete pipe with the various sized holes in it for other pipes to be attached that rested at the bottom of the hole made a great hideout/jungle gym. 

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I don't know where our parents were all these times or why we were allowed to get away with playing in the construction hole day after day.  I know my parents and probably most of the other kids' parents were very responsible and always had an eye on us from a very short distance.  Maybe it wasn't dangerous.  Who knows?  All I know is that one day, one of the boys a few years older than us read the sign posted on the safety blockade that said something to the effect of DANGER: KEEP OUT!
What?  Danger: Keep Out?  There's nothing dangerous about this!  I remember thinking to myself rebelliously while that sinking feeling started in the pit of my stomach.  That feeling that informed me, all your great fun is about to end.  I stayed in the hole debating with myself and finally decided that sign could be ignored.  Especially since no grown up had come around to enforce it.

But that feeling remained, and all my joy was gone.  Even swinging daringly from the lower bar, flying a short distance through the warm air, and landing safely feet-first onto the cool pebbles had lost its adrenaline rush.  I finally climbed out of the hole and sat with my feet dangling down the edge while I pondered my choices.  I knew that if my parents saw the sign and saw me, I'd be asked to leave.  I knew that if my parents found out that I knew what the sign said and that I was still hanging out in the off-limits zone I would be in trouble.  I considered telling them that I had no idea it was off-limits, but that would be a lie, and I knew I'd be in huge, gigantic trouble if they found out I'd lied.  Plus, I knew that God would know I had lied even if my parents never found out.

Oh, the agony inside my little soul!

(Some best memory, huh?)

I finally, reluctantly climbed all the way out and watched my friends shrieking and laughing as they swung into and climbed around that hole.  It wasn't much fun watching, but I also knew it wouldn't be fun for me participating any more.  A few minutes later, I quietly went inside my house where my daddy's shoulder provided a wonderful place to cry my disappointment out.

He held me close and dried my eyes when I finished sobbing.  Then I cuddled up into his lap, and he read a few story books to me in a circle of warm lamp light while the twilight fell outside.

So...I guess that wasn't the BEST memory in my life, but I can still vividly remember what great fun we all had swinging into that hole.  Those few evenings playing beneath the street just may have been the highlight of my preschool years.
1 Response
  1. Suanna Says:

    Thanks for sharing a good childhood memory with us. I'm glad your Dad had a good shoulder for you. I posted a childhood memory last week about making maple syrup.

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