JJ Botta writes a wonderful blog called The Disconnected Writer. I am fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to meet JJ and his lovely wife in person... several times. Each visit is a joy. JJ is passionate about his family, the environment, this country, and his friends. If you are lucky enough to hear some of his stories, you will fully understand that he is a person who has LIVED. We should all be so lucky to pack as much living into our own lives. JJ is the person I want to be when I grow up!
And now for your traveling music:
Somehow Kids Get Lucky # 1 by JJ Botta
Last night, around 3:00 am, I awoke in a cold sweat. I had been dreaming of an incident from my childhood, and I thought I would share it with my fellow bloggers.
Growing up, I found myself inextricably linked to a number of people in our community. The memories linger to this day. Looking back at my childhood, I am convinced that kids, especially those like me, luck out now and then. I did.
A neighbor owned a large sand pit, which he no longer operated commercially since he developed some medical issues and retired. None of the neighborhood children were allowed near the property, but my friends and I never knew why. On a daily basis, we took some large metal saucers designed for sliding down hills in the snow and used them to ride the sand piles.
On the other side of the pit lived a strange man. We never knew his name. He lived alone with his elderly parents, and as with the sand pit, we were not allowed near him either. Although young, we were aware of his odd personality. The man was huge, with the face of a monster, and never smiled. To this day, I do not know whether he could speak. All we knew is to run whenever he peered at us through his kitchen window.
One summer day, under the guise of going fishing, I accompanied four of my friends to the sand pit for a few rides down the hill. Half the fun was trying to stay in our saucers. Falling out on the way down the sand pile filled a boy’s pants with burrs and caused the other kids to laugh hysterically all afternoon. However, on this day, upon our arrival at the pit, we formulated a plan based on a story we had seen on TV the evening before.
We figured it would be a pretty cool idea to build underground forts in the sand pile to hide from our enemies, usually Indian warriors on the rampage, or Nazi tank battalions trying to capture us. Most of the sand pit was what we called “un-diggable,” because the sand re-filled the hole as fast as we could shovel with our saucers. Grant found a hard packed section that was a little moist, where the rain the night before had mixed the sand with muddy dirt. We found our spot.
Billy and I dug our fort on the left side of the hill. Grant, Richie, and Dave dug on the right. I have only the memory of a ten-year old boy, but the dugouts seemed quite deep to us. They must have been because they hid our bodies from our imaginary foes. Nevertheless, it did not take long for the forts to collapse. Billy and I were fortunate, but the other three not so much. When the structures caved in, the sand from the side of the pit filled their cave like an avalanche, covering the fort and the boys.
Billy and I dug frantically, in vain, in an attempt to free our friends, no longer in sight. It seemed like hours, but I am certain it was less than a minute.
It was at this point I awakened from my dream last night, yet I still vividly remember what occurred. Out of nowhere, the huge, odd, monstrous neighbor who had been peering through his kitchen vantage point appeared on the scene. I remember being tossed aside while he rapidly extricated my friends from their cave fort. They all survived, and probably lost more sleep than I did over the years.
Who knows why kids do these things, and how they manage to escape. I suppose it was traumatic, since I still recollect the fear so many years later. I also remember telling my mother I was fishing, but got skunked.
Did that make your heart rate jump? It did mine. JJ writes the best stories... and they are true! I hope you take a moment and check out his blog. You won't be disappointed!