As my neighbors are gathered across the street laughing and talking watching the sun give way to dusk, I’m reminded of a place far away. It’s tucked deep into my heart, though.
I have — as my dad said last night about the Old Fort Days Rodeo — “vivid recollections” of being 2 or 3 years old and spending fun times with neighbors in Batesville, Arkansas.
Young moms and dads would pool their resources. “I’ve got eggs!” someone would holler across the street. Down the way, a reply would come. “I’ve got milk.” Another neighbor would join the refrain. “I’ve got sugar and ice!”
And a male voice would then shout, “I got some beer!” The women would quietly smile — knowing they’d have plenty of muscle to crank the ice cream.
My friends and I would chase lightning bugs until we were dripping with sweat. We’d eat ice cream until we couldn’t see straight. Tired and sticky from all the sweetened cream that missed our mouths, we’d pass out in our mothers’ laps — comforted in the sounds of our parents’ voices, surrounded by our pets, and by the only places we’d ever called home.
Forty-something years later, and I’m still among the first to flake out. Still, I’m comforted by the sounds occasionally drifting across the street from Mikey’s house — a place he’s called home his entire life.
I hope someday the children at today’s block party have a strong sense of community — and comfort — from the place they call home.