Until I was 12 years old, my family lived in a small ranch style house on a very long street just three and a half blocks from where I’m living right now. Back in the day, when my family lived in that particular house, there was a narrow ditch that ran between the backyards of the houses on our street and the backyards of the houses behind ours. Get the picture?
Sometimes blackberries grew along the sides of the ditch. One day, while picking blackberries with a friend, we discovered a snake nestled among the vines and berries. The little boy across the street was called to come over and catch the snake because he collected all kinds of icky things. The little boy grew up to be a famous music writer and DJ who lives on the west coast, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I only knew him as the brother of my best friend until they moved away when I was 10 or 11 years old.
Back to the ditch …
Because one side was higher than the other, jumping the ditch was a big deal. Some spots along the ditch required a short hop, while other spots required a leap that could land you in the ditch if you weren’t careful. I remember falling in a time or two. Mom wasn’t very happy when I came home with mud all over my clothes and shoes. Stripping down to next to nothing in the garage and getting rinsed off with the garden hose comes to mind.
Finally, the big day arrived … my 15 seconds of fame. I successfully landed what had to be a perfect 10 in the neighborhood sport of ditch jumping. It was awesome! After that, I started to take ballet lessons, and my ditch jumping days were over.
Well, last year I went out for a coffee and took a drive through the neighborhood to get a visual update of the roadwork that seems to go on forever. That’s when I saw it, just three and a half blocks down the road. The ditch was gone! It had been filled in with dirt and trees. I was in shock!
We lived in that house back in 1954. The ditch was there long before we moved in the house, and and it was there when we moved to our new family home in 1960. Now, it’s gone forever.
I suppose there is a lesson to be learned from this story. For the moment, I’m going to drift back to those days long ago …
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