When I Was a Kid

Grandpa parked his white Taystee Bread truck in front of our house, opened the back door, and told every kid lucky enough to be outside at the time to jump in and grab a Mickey Banana Flip or Devil’s Food Cake.

We played kickball in the street and yelled CAR! before scattering to the curb like bugs.

Mom vacuumed at night after she put my brother, sister and me to bed. Somehow, I felt loved watching the vacuum’s front headlight under my bedroom door.

When I was kid

My dog was so big, I rode him like a horse.
My friend John and I sneaked out of the house at 4am and rode our bikes all over town, dumpster diving for 10¢ cans to buy breakfast.

My dad took the whole family to Tiger Stadium in Detroit where I fell in love with baseball.

When I was a kid

My brother taught me how to play basketball left-handed.

We had a mailman named John who walked his entire route. He wore a sharp, blue uniform with a dark stripe down his neatly creased pants. He seemed like the happiest and friendliest man alive.

We had a stereo half the size of our living room and mom shook our tiny house with Elvis, Tom Jones and Bob Seger.
I kissed girls on the playground of my Catholic elementary school and got in big trouble for it by less-than-amused nuns.

I told my friends at school I was bionic like The Six Million Dollar Man. I even came to school once with a piece of wire hanging out of my shirt. I told everyone I had to go for repairs after class.

When I was a kid

We carved our names in the cement and bought bags of candy for a quarter.
We had boom boxes and cassette tapes.
We chewed Bubble Yum and drank way too many Big Gulps.
We had girl crushes and heartaches.
We watched MTV and played Ms. Pac Man for hours.

John Cougar told us to hold on to sixteen as long as you can, and we tried.

They say the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror for a reason, but the world is colder today. I’m grateful for the warm places I can glance back to…

When I was a kid.