Funny how most of my childhood memories are of summer time. Somehow, in my memories, the house in the summer time always had sunshine beaming in through every window, and there was always a light warm breeze blowing through the house filling it with the sweet scent of lavender from Mom's tree out front.
Each morning held the promise of new adventures and memories of the days gone by. Every summer day was spent with my BFF Jason Roeder, my siblings and his siblings. We were inseperable. The cool thing about having a boy for a best friend was the "balance" he brought to my life. We were respectful of each others wants and would politley take turns playing different things. One day was bulding forts and playing army and the next was hanging out in Michelle's "playhouse" and playing with dolls. Jason was the best friend anyone (boy or girl) could ever ask for.
I remember watching the banana split show with Jason and getting totally into the Land of the Lost. He loved the dinosaurs and sleastacks, and I loved watching the girl be so tough and brave. Time spent indoors was always limited. As soon as the program was over, we were quickly kicked out of the house to play outside. We had a new game.... Land of the Lost.
Into the woods we would venture. We would pretend to out run the man eating dinosaurs and build forts to hide in. One day while out playing, one of our older siblings (likely Edie) told us a scarey story about "Old Man Shack" who lived out in the woods. He (supposedly) killed any children who came onto his property and we were very close to his property line. I was terrified, but didn't want to show Jason (the boy I looked up to more than any human on the planet) any signs of fear.
I remember clutching to my "sword" (aka a long willow stick) thinking I would fight off any old man that tried to grab me. Jason bravely stood in front of me, closest to the property line, and told me not to worry.... he would never let anything bad happen to me. I remember hiking back out of the woods that day with a true sense of safety having my best friend following me out, protecting my back from "Old Man Shack."
We never really went into those parts of the woods after that day. But I would have.... if my best friend ever asked me to. We were an "army of one" standing side by side ready to battle man eating dinosaurs, rebel troops trying to gun us down, or even Old Man Shack hunting little kids.
Stepping into the sunlight out from the shadows of the forest, I would always sigh a breath of relief. Even if I was terrified, however, I learned at a very young age that if you stand strong and true to your friends, you can and will conquer anything that crosses your path. Summer days were full of battles.... it wasn't until we reached the school yard, however, that our real war would start.....