Where I grew up, there was no dinner bell.
There was a dinner yell.
It came from my sister. Every evening, she would walk out the back door, step onto the carport and summon her inner train whistle.
The wind could have been blowing 30 miles per hour. I could have been eight blocks away. It didn’t matter.
Somehow, when that call went out, I heard it.
In for a bite. Back out to play.
If you weren’t having fun in those days, you weren’t trying.
My buddies and I lived on our bicycles. We rode them across town and into high water when it rained. We rode them behind the town’s mosquito fogger, losing ourselves in a white cloud. When we needed more horsepower, we attached a motor, courtesy of a baseball card in the spokes.
I once arranged a bike race around the block between two friends, each taking off in opposite directions. They met where they started, crashing head-on.
I collected Mad magazines, hung out in a treehouse and skated on frozen ponds Missouri-style — without blades. When it snowed, it was tackle football in my neighbor’s lot.
We stole Budweisers from the fridge and played Spin-the-Bottle in my friend’s basement.
It was a great time and place to be a kid.