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Monday, August 10, 2009

Bottles, Goodies and Adventure


When I was a mere child around the third or fourth grade I remember collecting bottles and bringing them down to local corner store and cashing them in for those hard earned pennies. It was a time when glass bottles were widely in use. Drinks taste so much better in glass bottles. Do you remember? Soda machines use to have bottle openers on them.

We would carry those bottles in our little arms down the hill and walk about eight blocks to get our reward. Of course, when we had our hands full of change we would calculate how much candy we could afford. We would buy those little five packs of plastic bottles of sugar water, caramel chews, Bazooka Bubblegum, baseball cards, candy cigarettes, penny candy (yes, candy use to cost a penny) and a Milky Way all for about .35 - .50 cents. If we were lucky we would be able to afford a chocolate ├ęclair ice cream and a grape soda. The clerk would put all of our treasures in a small paper sack and we were on our way.

We use to go behind the store and sit and devour our ice cream and compare our riches. We would compare and trade our baseball cards and chew the awful gum that came with them. We would complain about how the taste didn’t last and grab something else out of our sacks. Then it was time to start heading home where we would not get into trouble for being gone for so long.

Along the way back we would kick rocks on the street and take the time to stop and investigate the ant hills that had taken over the empty lot. We bombed the ants with rocks and sticks to start their panic and frustration of our presence. Once bored we continued toward our home just to stop and play in the creek at the bottom of the hill. We would play with the tadpoles and pollywogs and find a container to put them in so we could tease, poke, and play with them. As we admired our catch we sat on the rocks and ate the rest of our candy.

As the street lights began to come on we realized that once again we had spent too long on our journey. We snatched up the remainder of our loot and released the tadpoles and pollywogs. As dusk began to fall I could hear my grandmother calling out my name. As I am walking up the hill my aunt from three houses down yells to my grandmother, “Here he comes, he should be home in a minute.” “Thanks, Elaine. Make sure he comes straight home,” my grandmother replied.

I walk in the front door only to be stopped in my tracks and told to get out of those filthy clothes. I can smell dinner cooking and it makes my mouth water. I strip in the foyer and I am told to run and get in the tub before dinner is ready. While in the tub I hear my parents come home from work. My mother comes and gets me out of the tub and dries me off. We all sit down at the table, say the blessing and enjoy our meal.

It has been another great day of adventure and I am blessed to have such a wonderful family. My grandmother and my aunt have since passed away. I treasure those memories of them and thank God for giving me such a wonderful childhood and family. God Bless them always.

This story reminds me of a song I began enjoying in my teens. I still like to sing to it today. Here is the song, The Ballad of Curtis Lowe by Lynyrd Skynyd.

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