SATURDAYS

kids

As a kid every Saturday was like a holiday. There was no school and the day was wide open to do whatever you wanted. I remember waking up before my parents, going downstairs in my pajamas, making a bowl of cereal containing a mountain of sugar, turning on the television and watching a couple of hours of cartoons, all before 9am. The rest of the day contained zero plans, just the way I liked it. Sunday was for church and family outings while Saturday remained open always for imagination and fun. It usually included getting on my bicycle and checking out the neighborhood for fellow riders and soon forming a pack. The pack then roamed with no real direction, but with just a little imagination the pack could be a platoon of Army Jeeps in search of the enemy who could be hiding around any corner. Long sticks could be used for guns and shorter ones pistols as you hunted your enemy down. It became popular to pretend to be The Rat Patrol and hunt down General Rommel. As interest in that game began to wane the sticks would turn into swords and our bikes in to horses and we became Robin Hood and his group of merry men. Sword fighting with sticks was part of almost every person’s childhood, it was why sticks fell off the trees in the first place, unless you saw the perfect stick still on a tree and were compelled to rip it off as it was the excalibur of swords. Sword fighting would usually last until someone got hurt or an over protective parent would make you stop because it was too dangerous and someone might get their eye poked out. Not once during childhood do I ever remember myself or anyone I knew having their eye poked out. That is a classic parents line, but it still worked, just imagine your eyeball being stuck to the end of your friend’s sword. It was enough to make us stop…that line has never stopped working. We would then ditch our horses and swords and go to the most basic of all kid’s games…TAG. Nothing needed for this game. One kid is it and they have to tag someone else to make them it.We could play this forever or at least until one of the fatter kids would constantly be tagged it and everyone else could always get away easily. The overweight kid would quit, so we move on to another favorite, hide-and-go-seek. This game required only a tree as home base and the ability to count to ten. It kinda sucked to be the counter and after a fast round of  “Not It” the counter was selected. As the game progressed and the same person got tired of counting they would inevitably start to cheat and peak as to where each person was hiding. It became obvious to the others and after some arguing about it the game usually ended there. Anyway it was lunch time now, time to go to home base, have a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, wash it down with Kool-Aid or Tang, and back out the door for more free time…there was plenty of time left on Saturdays. It was time to explore which meant riding your bike to some far off location, or so it seemed, and pretending to be the first people to have ever seen this location before. As the new conquering explorers you could name your land whatever you wanted and control the territory until a group of bigger kids came along and took control of your new land. You leave to explore new lands and come upon a treasure chest of fun…a big cardboard box that once was home to a parent’s new appliance, but was now transformed in to one of the coolest sliders in the world. After flattening it out and finding a small hill you were soon taking turns on toboggan runs that were super fast and bumpy. You would start at the top of the hill with 4-5 riders and end up with just one at the bottom. This game could last as long as the box did. It was now time to take a break, lay down in the grass, and make-up stories of heroism, like the time you caught a home-run ball from Mickey Mantle. When asked to produce the ball, all you could say is that your parents stored it away so no one could steal it. So the stories got bigger as did the made-up lies until you realized that it was time to get up and build a fort. This meant scavenging any materials you could find and creating your own hide-a-way, see the fort made you invisible from anyone who was not in your club, particularly older siblings. You would venture out with your new found swords and protect the castle until you heard those fateful words being yelled in the distance, ” It’s getting dark, time to come home”. That was the way Saturday always ended, having to go home when daylight ended. You had only seen your parents for two short moments that day, once in the morning and once at lunch. You were free to roam the neighborhood at will with no worries. Parents weren’t nervous about their kids being out of sight as they are today, the world seemed safer. It is amazing how wonderful Saturdays could be as a kid and all done with imagination.

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