By Brian G. Schommer
Taking a walk down memory lane, while not a physical activity, can still often be quite refreshing and healthy. It is a type of walk that keeps your mind fresh or in some cases, reminds you that a lot of the good days may be further in the rearview mirror than you thought as you struggle to connect the dots on some of those memories. I remember buying my brotherinlaw a book for his 50th birthday titled, “You Know You’re Getting Old When…” because five decades of life was like “really old” to me and now, I am five years past the age of 50. I remember the book probably because I am living it now.
I remember getting on my bike at the break of dawn, grabbing my trusty Zebco 202 combo rod and reel that I most likely bought at CoasttoCoast where the Dollar Tree now resides, my metal tackle box that was originally my dad’s and a container of night crawlers that I picked up the night before and pedaling down to either Lake Isabel, Lake Rebecca or Bullfrog Pond to meet up with some buddies and catch fish of any of the many species you find around here and hope someone packed an extra sandwich because just like now, forgetting something was status quo. If not, a quick jaunt home when the belly started rumbling would take care of things in short order and then, it would be back to the fishing hole via the old Huffy Santa Fe bicycle to catch more fish and make more memories.
Besides fishing, there was a lot of playing ball in the St. Boniface parking lot which also seen lots of changes over the years. The name changed a few times from St. Boniface, to Hastings Parochial and now, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The church building that served as our “left field wall” is now in a smaller scale on the Bauer Farm (THANK YOU to Steve and Crew for PRESERVING so many memories for SO MANY PEOPLE). There is now a playground where the building was, but you can still experience plenty of kids laughing and playing daily which could be proof of the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In addition, I can remember countless times that we would grab a football, gather up 1520 neighbor kids and go to Kennedy School, Pioneer Park or even just in a couple neighbors’ yards that butted up to each other and played some football. If the numbers were low, wiffle ball, hot box, catch, tag and as the night fell upon us, hide, and go seek were all great options. We went swimming at the local pool on hot days or just ran through the sprinkler to cool off. The outdoors was where it all happened, not in the basement with our faces buried in the screen. There were so many things to do back then.
“You Know You Are Getting Old When… ” you read comments today about “there is nothing for the kids to do in this town” and your response starts out… “back in my day.” As a public admittance, I am not only getting old; I am old, and I feel good about it. If you are one of those “there is nothing for the kids to do around here,” go back to the start of this column and read it again. There ARE things to do in this town and every town around us. The outdoor activities are still PLENTIFUL and available for kids (of all ages) to take part in. “Back in my day,” we did not know the phrase “social distance.” We realized that human beings are social creatures and we craved socialization. We did not call it that back then, we called it friendship. To get together and hang out was a great way to pass the time. We built these things called relationships and some of us maintain them today, still getting together to hang out with these people called “friends.” We’re all a bit “older” now but for the most part, still find it quite satisfying to participate in some of the same activities that we did all those years ago. While baseball may have switched to softball, swimming at the local pool may be at a friend’s house and football has gone from tackle, to touch, to flag… to watching on the TV (yes, a little screen time is okay) … there are things to do.
Is it time to get back to resocializing our socially distanced world? I realize there are lots of what “if’s” and concerns with Covid and as well, these concerns may be very justified. How about instead of being focused on “social distancing” we all just keep a few extra steps apart from each other, maintaining a “safe” distance (whatever safe is for you) and we reinvent being social again? Let’s all “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors…” TOGETHER.