The Care Of Time
By Allan Eastman
Back when I was 7 or 8 years old, Time had no meaning whatsoever. Everything seemed to last forever. Each long sunny summer day rolled on endlessly. The entire two month summer vacation from school went on for decades.
It was a much simpler age when I was a boy and a far better world for kids. Your parents were much less worried about all the horrible things that can happen to kids in our own modern times. The Midwest city I grew up in was more like one big community. People were neighbourly and they kept an eye on other people’s kids - stalkers were virtually nonexistent and any who might be around were dealt with harshly by the Law. Traffic was considerably lighter. Children enjoyed the sort of freedom that seems impossible today.
Every morning, my gang of friends and I would head off on our bikes in search of adventure. There were a series of pathways along the riverbanks of the city called “The Monkey Trails” and we careened along them for miles, whooping our way in and out of the tall trees and up and down the deep dipped gullies. Spectacular wrecks and wipe outs in these gullies were the stuff of kid legend. We thought nothing of pedaling for an hour and more out to City Park to visit the Zoo or clear across town because we had heard that some kid had broken his arm and had an amazing articulated cast that could be signed. We would sit on the grass and talk for hours about everything or play endless complicated games for the entire day. Any kid could stay in the public swimming pool from 9 to 6 without ever coming out.
Our schedule was vague to say the least. My Mom set some limits on my return home to check in but “Be back by lunchtime” or “Be home for supper” was as close to actual Time management as we got. Time was sort of internally felt but was not really thought about or paid much attention to. You just kind of knew when to come back. The absolute deadline to our daily adventures was “Be home before Dark.” We only checked a clock to see how long it was until The Lone Ranger or Zorro was on television. The most dreaded Time of all was “Bed Time.”
But how things change - jump cut to 30 years later...