When I was a kid
When I was a kid, we didn't have running water in the house. I would open the bottom windows of my bedroom late at night and pee in the grass because I was scared of the outhouse after dark.
When I was a kid, my best friend's phone number was 2-2850. As in, 382-2850, but you didn't need to dial the first part of the prefix because we lived in such a remote, unpopulated area. We had a party line, which meant we had to listen carefully to the kind of ring the phone made, because the call might have been for our neighbors down the road, the Bakers. Sometimes we'd pick up the phone to make a call and we'd have to wait because they'd be talking to someone.
When I was a kid, my dad taught industrial arts at a high school that was widely known to be filled with deliquents. He'd come home after a stressful day and chop the heads off a few chickens. I remember watching them run around in the yard, headless.
We ate a lot of chicken, when I was a kid.
When I was a kid, we would raise one pig a year. My dad would bring home huge trays of slop from the school cafeteria to feed it. He says that when he'd butcher it, I'd hang out in the barn, watching. I don't believe that, though, because all I remember is racing back to the house the morning of slaughter and burying my head in pillows so I couldn't hear the crack of the gunshot. I remember rendering the fat, filling plastic gallon jugs with pure white lard to be frozen and used later for frying, and the golden cracklings piled into cheesecloth.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to believe that the reflection on the windows of kids riding the bus was really an alternate universe filled with fairies.
When I was a kid, my best friend and I decided we were going to be psychic, and shuffled two packs of cards together, trying to guess whether or not the next face-down card was black or red. We determined any success to be a sure indicator of our psychic ability.
When I was a kid, I pulled warm eggs from underneath crabby hens, and held eggs while ducklings pecked their way out.
When I was a kid, I dug up a rusted pistol from the garden. Another time, I dug up a salamander in the asparagus bed. I went back there every day to dig him up again and play with him until he wised up and found a different home.
When I was a kid, I hung out in the tunnel stream under the railroad while a train thundered above. Once I holed up during a pasture burning that trapped me there until the flames on the rail banks died down.
When I was a kid, I'd take my fishing pole down to my favorite spot on the creek and cast all day, without any hook.
When I was a kid, I fell down the stone steps of our cave and cracked my skull. The cave was where we went during tornados, unless it was knee-deep with flood water and snakes.
When I was a kid, my favorite smell was my mother's fresh baked whole wheat bread.
When I was a kid, our babysitter made chocolate chip cookies with us. We had a scary stove back then. When she stuck a match to light pilot, a big lobe of blue flame rose out of it. I'd never seen that in the times I'd watched my parents light the stove, so I tried to blow it out. The stove exploded. It blew out a few windows all over the house, and singed off the hair on our faces.
Babysitters never came back twice, when I was a kid.