Not to sound cliché`but time has a way of catching up with you. I guess I would be old to some and young to others, but time is really catching up with me. For a lot of people, this is manifested in their physical or mental well-being. Physically, I’m fine; mentally, well, others have their opinions.
I’ve noticed the older I get the more nostalgic I become. Suddenly, 80s music has never sounded so good, and I miss the stores I used to frequent (anyone remember Miller’s Outpost?) It’s the decade we were born in that really matters, it’s when we started growing into ourselves that counts. For me, that was the 80s. That’s when I began to become the man I am now.
This hit home a bit as I was driving through Melissa recently. Exiting off Highway 75 by the old Harlow’s store (Highway Harlow’s) I drive down past new homes, new subdivisions and beautiful benches and sidewalks. It looks great, but what happened to the creek that was there? I used to grab my .22 caliber rifle or my .410 shotgun or even my bow and arrows and make my way down to the creek with my buddies to hunt rabbit or squirrel when I was a kid There were not any homes there and just a cemetery across the street to worry about.
I hardly recognize the place now.
Of course, this happens a lot. As a kid I would load up my dirt bike in the back of my uncle’s truck, or my friend’s mom’s truck, and go riding at different spots around Anna and Melissa. There was this one place where someone had laid out a little track. It was sheer bliss when I rode there. For grins, I drove by there the other day. Subdivision. No jumps, no track.
I then made my way over to the small rock pit Melissa used to have and a steep hill (at least, it was steep to 13-year-old me) called Old Smoky that the brave among us would attempt to conquer via dirt bike. Nope. Gone. There are some beautiful homes there, but my memories are just that now – memories.
So now I think, “Okay, they can’t all be gone.” There was this one last place that I learned to ride. My uncle took me there to teach me how to jump a dirt bike, giving me only one directive that I could not deviate from: “No whining.” And there was no whining because I was too absolutely happy to be upset about anything, even pain. This was another rock pit, this time just southeast in New Hope. I had heard that, at one time, it had been converted to a mountain bike area, but I hadn’t heard anything about it in recent years. So, I drive by there and, guess what? It’s still there. Yes, it’s fenced off and inaccessible, but it’s still there. For how long, who knows, but it hasn’t gone away, and that made me feel pretty good.
Even though they have things so much easier in some ways than people of my generation, I feel sorry sometimes for my kids. You can’t just pack up and go ride dirt bikes or shoot at the creek anymore. They have more to do but a whole lot less freedom than previous generations. Everything is structured, land is closed off and housing additions encroach on everything. Those days riding my dirt bike freely and embarking on a mini-expedition through a creek were what made the 80s so spectacular for me, but you can’t go home sometimes.