Thursday, November 11, 2010

Running in my hometown

I love visiting my parents and looking at the town I grew up in through different lens. The past few times I've been up, I've either not run or I've run far away from town on the dirt roads. This weekend, I decided to run in town.

I have always thought it was amazing that whenever I return to my parents'--my--home, it is as if I am a teenager again. All my memories of Pleasantville revert back to the Pleasantville of the 70s.

Leaving my parents' driveway, I turn past the Burns house and wonder what Chip and Moe are doing these days. I remember Chip - that annoying friend of my little brother--and Chips younger brother Moe. I didn't know them well but did actually help my best friend at the time babysit Moe. It was then that I decided that I wasn't a fan of little kids. At all. How I ended up with five kids, I just wonder.

I remember when the houses directly across the street from my parents were not there: just 'the pines' where my best friend and our siblings built cabins and climbed trees.

Running on down the road, I pass Coonie Confer's house. I remember when his wife, who died of cancer while I was still a kid, made us all candles. I can still remember that she made me a green owl candle.

Continuing on I see the 'Napkins' house. My oldest daughter loved the Napkins - and since she couldn't pronounce Atkins, they've been the Atkins ever since.

Next is the Johnson's little yellow ranch house. I remember the big climbing tree on the side of their house near the Napkins. And their swingset that we used to sit on and talk for hours.

Next to the Johnson's is the Archers. I will never forget Mrs. Archer teaching us how to make old lady faces with dried apples. I won't forget the box of dress up clothes she gave my best friend and me.

My run from one end of town to the other is marked by memories of the ghosts of residents past. It is a good experience and keeps me grounded.

For nearly one hour last Saturday I was entirely absorbed by the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement and by the memories of my young life and the connection with the residents of the town. I tried to get that feeling back on Sunday, but the magic was gone.

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