|A streetlight, the curfew of my youth, public domain photo|
It's a summer night. Not brutally hot, not raining, not so cool I capitulate to pulling on a sweatshirt. Simply put, it's perfect. Earlier tonight, I got a treat better than ice cream (for a middle-aged guy) by getting to ride in my friend's '65 Mustang. It had the old-school roll-down windows and as we were driving into a smiling sunset, my arm rested outside on the door. There was no need for music. The engine was plenty enough to listen to and sing, did it ever.
Now, I'm on my deck, Sting and the guys are playing on Pandora. Up the hill, I hear the kids play. It caused me to experience a jolt of nostalgia, for when I was a kid. Back then we could play outside. If anything, we were told to, "Go outside!" There was no Wi-Fi, no Netflix or any of the other countless indoor diversions. What we did have was an arbitrator of time, an enforcer of the end of the day-the streetlight.
My parents had a simple yet ironclad rule: When the streetlight came on, I came in. I think they and the other parents were engaged in some RICOish conspiracy to get all us kids to come in at the same time. Oh well, no court would hear my appeal, so in I went. A day of fun had concluded. Still, there was a future promise of another day of fun. In June, everyday the days got a bit longer. My friends and I would hope against hope that maybe this was the night that the streetlight would not come on and the day would never end. Alas, the light glowed. The party was over.
That was a more simple time. As kids we would (and did) roam at will across the neighborhood. Add a bike to the equation, and look out, the world was truly ours. Those days are long over.
The kids up the hill have stopped playing, likely summoned home by their parents. The neighborhood is quiet and I suspect the streetlights are on up and down the block.
As it is a work night, soon I'll call it a night. But for just a bit longer, I'm going to sit on the deck, enjoy this marvelous weather and yah, reminisce about all those wonderful days when the only obligation I had was the glow of a streetlight.
Be well my friends,