Reminiscing on the Summer of 1996

This weekend was the perfect beginning to a new summer. Its going to be an awesome one unlike any other. My daughter is at a wonderful age of imagination and excitement. At her request, we found her a train ride. They have a fairly long mini train ride through the forest at Wheaton Park not far from where we live. It is so magical to see something through a child's eyes. I am so glad to get a second glimpse into the simple joys in life that I have shrugged off. To remember how it used to feel to run through the spray of a running hose. To rediscover that there is nothing wrong with only eating your favorite part of chocolate glazed brownie and wear it on your face.

Summer gets me nostalgic for my childhood. The summer in particular that I miss most often took place in Syracuse, Utah around age 12.
I just graduated elementary school and was on top of the world. Not a little kid anymore but not quite needing a real bra ( : My "neighborhood" consisted of two parallel culdesacs with a street above and below each all filled with families with kids. To the west were spooky corn fields and a big pit we rode our bikes down. To the north were new houses being constructed that we used as playhouses and jungle gyms. To the south were our schools and a tiny grocery store named Hamblin's where we would buy dime candy and potato logs. That summer I wore nothing but short shorts, t-shirts, and Nike basketball shoes. I spent every day trying to prove my equality on the basketball court with the neighborhood boys. I never got more satisfaction than when my skills, and his lack, started to frustrate Aaron Callister. I was no longer in the talent league of his little brother and was a real competitor at Horse. I would get those boys and occasionally some girls to play horse my way where instead of getting a letter when you missed a shot you would have to complete a humiliating task (such as lick the pavement or switch hats with me for a week). When we played actual basketball games, most of the neighborhood boys joined, young and old. My brother included. I miss that. Having that in common with him. Miraculously, I didn't feel like a girl during the games. I got hurt along with the rest of them, but we just kept playing. Well sometimes some of the younger boys would cry and go home. I am grateful that I was accepted as a dude and actually have been able to replicate that in several friend groups, with varying success, since then. Being a guy is very relaxing and carefree. Girls are great friends too, but just different because they are always thinking about seemingly serious things. 
The best part of the summer happened in the dark. Night games! For some reason, time or dead brain cells, I cannot recall the exact rules of our favorite night game. What I remember is all of us cool kids hid all over the culdesac my house was in. No yard or window well was off limits. Well maybe the Loves because they were ornery kid-less freaks. Obviously someone had to be the one to find the hiders. We would get up and move to different hiding spots. Sometimes sticking together and other times taking it solo. I have no idea how or when the game was won. I just remember everyone having the time of their lives... or me! Eventually the littlest kids or the kids with strict parents had to go in to bed, but the rest of us would hang around outside and talk  and explore the darkness till like 11 pm. And that was soo dang late!
Wouldn't it be fun to go back for a day? What was your favorite summer?

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