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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A cool place

We had the best sledding hill in the world. It was right between the Smiths’ house and ours, in the snowy woods of Kings Park West. I always admired dad for investing in family homes on the edges of Virginia’s hilly wilderness.

Recently, I uncovered an old photo of Dad’s 49’er, stripped down to the bare metal. I wrote a brief story about it entitled, “Whitefield Street down to the bare bones”

Anyhow, back to the sledding hill: Some obstreperous teenagers built the path for it in the summer of ’70. They felled some ancient oak trees with their chainsaws to start a mini-bike path –which incidentally reminds me – I read that there are absolutely no acorns out east this year. I wonder if it’s a manifestation reflecting what the bankrupt eastern seaboard humans did, by not squirreling nuts away before their walled mart crushing frenzies.

Back to the marked trail: Smith and I still talk about those pathways every few years. On icier days, you had to dig your feet in deep before reaching the sharp hairpin corners, to keep from splashing into Rabbit Run’s icy waters, or cracking your head open like a young fragile eggshell mind in Jim Morrison’s American Prayer.

The upper part of the path branched behind Fonzie McKenzie’s property. He was from Lebanon and sometimes we bombed his house with crabapples. Once he called me on the rotary, just as I returned from one of our neighborhood bombing missions & like a rat, I squealed on another boy, seemingly getting off Scott-free myself.

A few years back, Smith bummled alone again through the old oak tree branching paths. As he sat, he began to well up, thinking about his old wet rosebud sled in those simplier days. When I think about my bad judgment of bombing the Lebanese family, I feel the same way. I feel lower than a clitellum.

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