Monday, August 1, 2011


Although the heat and humidity is offensive to me today...
my air conditioner purrs.
I don't know how I survived without it.
But I was a strong lad in those days.
I took a cold bath at night,
and slept in my jockey shorts.
I lay next to the open screen door.
I smelled the acrid stink of the Chicago Stockyards.
I heard the blare of locomotive train horns.
The "clickity-clack" over ribbons of track lulled me to sleep.
I walked for miles in the summertime.
I was too poor to afford a bicycle,
but there were other sources of entertainment for me.
I played fast pitching in the school yard.
All my friends and I needed was a bat, a rubber ball,
and a strike zone, chalked on the brick wall.
Foul tips sometimes ended up on the old school's roof.
I was strong enough to shinny my way up the drain pipe.
Once I reached the top, I breathed the hot fumes of asphalt.
It was covered with gravel, but I always had tar on my PF flyers,
after one of these ball retrieving missions.
I usually found five-or-ten rubber balls.
My pals smiled widely as I threw the bounty down to them.
I was a hero to them on days like this.
After we got hot and tired from the game,
I'd mooch a ride on the handlebars of a bike owned by one of my pals.
I never had any money, but one of them always treated me to an Old Dutch, rootbeer.
Those were the days!
I learned that respect and reward came from hard work.

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