Happier Days

My wife Angie woke me this morning with the usual, “Time to get up, I need to get to work.” Usually I would rather not leave the warm cocoon of covers, wrapped so tightly around my body you would think that when I left them I would be a butterfly, only because I don’t want to face the cold of the morning, today was different. Today I didn’t want to leave the warmth and revelry of my childhood.

Things have been tough this week and my mind decided it/I/we couldn’t take it anymore. My dreams took me away. There I was in the neighborhood of my youth, altered by the scope of the dream world,  but all too familiar to my memories of happier times. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the warmth of the summer sun, the sound of my bicycle tires on the pavement and the utter joy and freedom of being a child at play, the hero of a cowboy riding his trusty steed and coming to the rescue…oh to hang on to this feeling for a mere moment more before I had to renter the troubled world of today.

The wind was blowing in my face as I raced down the hill that stretched for the mile from Bobby Dub’s house to my own. A hill and distance stretched by  my mind, trying to extend the ride on my dull red three speed bike; the 26” bike with the turned-down handlebars and the in-axle gear box forever stuck in third gear with tires so bald I hoped never to hit a patch of sand on the road. I was flying past kids playing on the swings  in the park across from 3106 Deal Street, Sunnyside neighborhood, East Chicago Indiana, United States of America, Planet Earth…the encapsulation of my childhood!!! Why must I leave?

I refused to move. I lay in my cocoon of covers; eyes closed allowing my mind to remain half in half out of my dream of freedom…who wants to be a butterfly anyway…who more free than a child at play; no cares no worries, no deadlines, no bills, no reports due, no arguments to be won; nothing but the “free wind blowing in my hair”…well my crew cut…my mother saved money by cutting our hair with electric clippers purchased at Walgreen’s Drug store.

Nothing mattered as I lay in the bed  that the dream world had converted to the bunk bed of my youth, feeling the warm of the sun streaming through the windows, the sounds of eons gone by; the feeling of the time, the place, the joy of youth slipping through the fingers of my mind as my wife gently reminded me that it was really time to get up.

As I padded down the stairs to put the kettle on and take the dogs to the yard, I clung to the feelings of the dream that took me to a safer, more joyful place and time. I open the front door and felt the feelings of childhood  ripped violently from the grasp of my mental fingers; lost to the frigid morning air and the frigid realities of today’s life. Desperately my mind reached in vain to grasp the memories of that time in life so full of promises and devoid of worries. The line from an old cowboy movie echoed in my brain; “Shane. Come back Shane.”  I watch helpless, my dream and feelings of comfort riding away with Shane on his dull red in-axle, gear box forever stuck in third gear, 26’ bike with tured-down handlebars , off to the rescue and forever back into the land of happier days and dreams of childhood. Leaving me behind, forever stuck in the world of today.

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