It probably started with the blog I wrote about horseshoes. That little trip in the Wayback Machine set off a ringing in my head that could only be answered by making lengthy reference to the good old days. Those were the days my friends. We thought they'd never end. We had a toilet paper dispenser in our outhouse that played that song. It was a windup box that made music each time you pulled on the roll. Taking a walk out into the woods to a little wooden shack wasn't surreal enough. The tinkling sounds of music would accompany the tinkling sounds of -
Well, you get the idea.
And the stories keep coming. As I sat down to dinner with my wife and her mother the other night, we began to reflect on those olden days and while I was outnumbered two to one in terms of childhood memories, I felt I could hold my own. Those three months a year that I spent with my family living in a log cabin were profound in my development curve. We woke up early because we had chores to do. Not the busy work of straightening our room. We three boys didn't have one as much as a communal loft in which we kept all our stuff in corners, and a waist-high box of comic books for our entertainment purposes. We were up and at the work of keeping the house working. Wood had to be chopped for the fire. Water had to be hauled for washing. Kindling had to be collected to start the fire that would keep the water warm for washing.
Once the never-ending work of making fuel for our stoves had been managed for a few hours, we were free to wander in the hills that surrounded us. Or we could take the softball and bat down to our meadow field to knock around a few fly balls for the neighborhood golden retriever Bacca to chase until he got tired and took himself and our ball down into the creek to cool off. And all the while, our dachshund, Rupert, continued his excavation of every square inch of ground into which he burrowed. Hours passed. Days passed. Weeks.
Until it was Labor Day, and we loaded up our lives to return to the lives of City Mice. All of that frontier living was forming a thick layer of appreciation for nature and a work ethic that still shows up when it's time to cut firewood or haul wood. Or teach elementary school.
And then when the shadows grow long, it's time to come inside and light the lanterns and sit around telling stories about the way it used to be.