My river park

I know not of the simple country life of the south or that of the Caribbean for my parents left it behind to better themselves and to give us a better education than they had, but I do yearn for the simpleness of my youth.

You see I grew up in the city with its skyscrapers, noisy cars and trains, but I had a huge park and two rivers one on either side of this island city in the north.

After dinner was cooked early by my mom or aunts and whatever chore or homework was completed during the summer time.  The little blue cooler was packed with 10 cent icees,  quarter juices, chips or cheese doodles, so we could run and play with the afternoon sun getting ready to lay down somewhere over the river, through the trees and mountains.

We had no porch, veranda, or balcony to put our feet up and gaze blankly at the setting sun.

Moms and dads gave up peace and quiet to have us kids play, run, jump, or even get wet in the sprinklers of the fire hydrant or whatever sprinklers the local park had. Sometimes we’d totally lucked out cause they would join in the ruckus chasing us or making us chase them in hopes of really tiring us out.

Grand were the moments when after having given us those snacks and we still had the nerve and energy to ask for more and they sit and watch the sun set and we’d complain about not seeing the freesbe, the ball or the jump rope, or the path to roller skate or ride the bike.
We’d either continue chasing each other or, lay on the grass and look up at the darkening sky to see the beautiful evening rainbow until we could start to count the stars. Starting over a few times after losing count or our place in the darkened celestial body.

We’d get our second or third wind and begin to chase the lightning bug or fireflies. Catching them in our bare hands or if you were smart you had planned ahead and had brought an empty peanut butter and jelly jar from home to catch the white yellow green fireflies.

By 10pm mom would say time to go and would have used the melted ice to rinse off some of the evening’s dirt, grass or food stains. Of course we would whine about not wanting to leave, or wash our hands, face and/or knees with the remaining ice cubes.

Oh to go back and be free in my concrete jungle. I can dream of those simpler times, but it’s not going to bring back my youthful companions or that sense of freedom.
Growing older sure does have its drawbacks.  Now I don’t go to that river park for fear of being mugged, assaulted, bitten by mosquitoes or rats,  sprayed by the skunks, or getting a contact high from all the skunk weed today’s youth needs to have fun.

Every once in a while I wish for a return to those days filled with simple joys and every time it seems so far out of my reach. It’s an ethereal dream rising like the smoke of an old fashion fire escape BBQ.