Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Things You Remember

It’s funny the things you remember from high school. I can still remember the smell of the wood floors in the halls and the smell of the lunchroom on the days when they made macaroni and cheese. I remember the color of the evening light that filtered through high windows of the gymnasium. I remember the sound of the birds in the springtime when the windows were opened to let in the fresh air….the sound of squeaking shoes and bouncing balls in the gym floor.
I remember my first exposure to gambling behind that gym. The first morning I wandered back there before classes began I saw a bunch of guys flipping coins and catching them in mid air and calling even or odd. If both coins was heads or both coins were tails then the one calling "even" won the toss and the other person's coin. If they were not alike then the "odd man" won. When I found out what was happening and joined in that first morning I won a dollar. I was really encouraged and that afternoon stopped by Albritton’s store on the way home and pick up some candy, chips and a cold Orange Crush. The second day, I lost all my lunch money and I went home hungry. On the third day, I wanted to try to re-coop my losses so I stopped by the concesson stand to get change for a dollar to get the quarters. I rounded the corner just in time to see our principal Mr. Gant marching a crew of guys to the office. I acted as if I had gotten lost and headed back to the front of the gym post haste. I later learned that Mr. Gant had introduced the gamblers to the board of education. The next day, the area behind the gym was strangely quite.
I used to hate playing softball with Gordon May. He was a member of our class and a very nice guy with a smile on his face most of the time but when he came to to bat, he was formidable. He could knock the softball out of the county. When it was time for him to bat, we’d send a 7th grader scurrying for the top of the hill on the other side of the ball field. "No, go further, go further !!!!" we'd tell him....then WHACK!!! Gordon would launch that ball and the kid in the outfield would run off out of sight. The game would often end there because even if we could find the ball, it was usually lopsided and worked better as a Frisbee.
I also remember that one of the Cagle boys tried to jump from the back steps of the auditorium and grab a limb on an old cottonwood tree nearby.
He missed and broke both his arms. He came back to school a few days later with full casts on both arms which put him at a disadvantage when went to the bathroom. Never figured out how he managed that.
I remember graduation night even though it went by in a blur. What struck me was that as we all scurried around getting our yearbooks signed and telling everyone goodbye, it finally sunk in that I would not come this way again….that my time here, at this place, was over. All the time I spent daydreaming about the day that I would graduate and move on to the next phase of my life….well that day was here and the jubilation I felt was tinged with sadness.
These are just a few of the things that I remember, what do you remember?

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