I bet all of us at one time or another stared at billowy piles of clouds drifting on a sunny day and fabricated in our mind’s eye snowmen, elephants, dogs, and magnificent castles. As a child, heck, even as an adult, it is one of my favorite pastimes.
My childhood was one long summer. It’s funny but I don’t remember a lot about school but the summers I remember in clear detail. Playing in the woods, building tree-limb forts, catching lightin’ bugs, minnows and tadpoles, climbing trees, and floating in Smith Lake on a Beany and Cecil float. Cecil was my favorite sea-sick sea serpent.
We spent our summers and a lot of fall and spring weekends at that lake. I would gaze at the dark green water, imagining large man-eating catfish and waterlogged coffins--all depending on what tales old Mr. Hightower would entertain me with that day. My sister and I found Indian arrowheads by the red wagon loads. I always wondered why watermelons didn’t pop up in the yard like dandelions after we had one of our seed spitting fights.
At night, bonfires next to the lapping water were for ghost stories, singing and burning marshmallows. Lights from other homes would shoot across the moving water, giving my imagination more fuel as I speculated about the lives of the people on the other shore. Laughter was magnified by the vast openness of the water and the cicadas’ song filled the air, lulling me to sleep each night as I curled up in the top bunk with my little roll-out window open.
Ahh, with a childhood like that, how could I not be a writer?