It is so small, a remnant from my childhood. Just a little ceramic horse with a lingering star sticker on its saddle that I placed there the day I claimed ownership. It probably was a yard sale purchase or something my grandmother no longer wanted, but somehow it became mine, and oh the magic it contains.
Holding the sleepy, cold porcelain pony transports me back to a place of innocence. A land where I felt safe, care-free and loved. A world where tragedy and disaster rarely entered; play was expected and where four kids in empty field often morphed into a kickball game. The outdoors was my playground and the setting sun was my clock.
Many days the morning dew would wet my bare feet as I chased butterflies across the lawn. Green grass clippings, which I imagined heaven smelled like, stuck to my skin. Dangling yo-yos, balancing hula hoops, jumping rope, picking up jacks, flying kites, and shooting marbles were all courses of our summer feast. Sunscreen was rare, and dark summer tans with sun-bleached hair came naturally. You’d find me sitting on concrete steps mimicking the birds in trees or the watching the clouds float across the sky while thinking deep thoughts like, ‘If I run fast enough can I fly?’
In this realm a neighbor’s pool or simply finding a swimming hole meant an afternoon of screaming fun. Picnics, long walks, and laying on my back at night staring at the stars filled my imagination with fresh dreams. A filthy bathtub ring was my badge of a day well-spent.
In the spring I’d watch my brother pull fat frogs from the ditch or scoop polliwogs into a kitchen pan to see if they had legs. A measure of string on a broken tree branch with a hand-tied hook made us grand fishermen in our eyes; and the occasional use of an actual fishing pole with worms- wow, that was the ultimate outing! Not that I ever caught much, although I do recall a very heavy catch that turned out to be a whopper of a boot. This was sadly followed by reeling in a small turtle. I felt pretty bad about the little guy and fishing lost much of its appeal for me after that.
Making up stories, singing to record albums, putting on our own theater show, and riding my bike as far as I wanted to go- these were all entertainment for those long days of summer.
These recollections are my ‘days of yore.’ The era before adulthood emerged seasoned with pain and hardship, crowding out the days of ease. I can get lost in these thoughts. I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a childhood, and grateful that a hand-sized relic can bring me such wonderful memories of lazy summer days.
How about you? Do you have something special that transports you back to favorite memory?