What if?

You know what I love about writing? It takes me back to the time I was a child and my days – especially summer days – were limited only by my imagination. I lived in a world of What If and could be and do anything I wanted to.

My best buds were a trio of brothers who lived in the house on the corner. Their names were Bobby and Kevin and Sammy Tally. I haven’t seen them again since I was seven but I hope they’re well and conquering every pirate they run across.

We lived in a little tract of cookie cutter houses. Ours happened to be just across the street from John Ross Elementary School. Those were the days when there were no video games, not even color TV. Kids played outside all day till supper time and we were expected to stay within view of our homes so our mothers could periodically stick their heads out the door and see that we were okay.

Boys Playing Near CreekFortunately for us, there was ready made playground right there on the side of the school, monkey bars and all. But did we play there? Hardly ever. Because there was also a drainage ditch that ran the entire length of the school right by the street. There we got together and every day was a new What If. We became pilgrims who’d had the worst of times on the high seas but finally made it to try (or actually somewhat soggy) ground.

When that grew old, we followed the “river” (which was really about 12 – 15 inches wide and no more than 4 – 5 inches deep) to Africa where we fought and daryl-stickcaptured all sorts of scary beasts. Of course they were really crawdads and occasion slugs and things, but they were kind of scary. As long as the water was murky, we knew there might be crocodiles. Those were the days when it was okay to have toy guns and a stick was as good as a sword.

Or the river might take us to Ireland, home of my Grandpa Jackson’s ancestors, or Scottland, where Grandmother MacCormick was ghostmrchickenfrom. Or to see the Tally’s grandparents in Spain. It was like a ready-made portal to anywhere. As I recall, one day we even followed the river in search of the murderer that was in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Remember we were kids and we’d just seen that deliciously scary movie at the drive-in. That was a source of What Ifs for many days to come.

So when I sit down at my computer and pull up a blank page, if I don’t know what to write, all I really have to do is wonder What If?

How about you?

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