Driving to work today, I saw a large group of kids standing waiting for their school bus and was thrown back many years (no, I won't say exactly how many) to my own childhood days of standing at the corner of Loyal Oak & Silverdale with the neighborhood gang waiting for the school bus to pick us up. From those balmy first days of school, to the slushy and dark winter mornings, to the days in spring when it seemed that every bird in the world was singing, those days are steeped in memories. Watching those kids chase each other around as I whizzed past I suddenly was reminded of the game we invented to pass the time waiting for the bus.
I can't say exactly what grade I was in when we invented the game. Nor can I tell you who started it exactly. There were at least 10 kids at our stop on any given morning, so possibilities are endless. At its most pure, it was tag. One person was "it." You had to make it from my parent's mailbox to the street sign on Silverdale while running on the "blacktop" without getting tagged by the kid who was "it." If you set foot in the grass you were automatically the new it kid. We loved this game. We would get to the bus stop extra-early just to play it some more. Kids from the stop down on the other end of our neighborhood would come up to play. Blacktop was king.
The funny thing was, whenever we tried to play it in the afternoon or on a summer day, it wasn't fun at all. It lost all appeal. Sure, we played other games...kick the can, freeze tag, flashlight tag, hide & seek...but Blacktop was only for those misty school mornings when our bookbags were stacked at the base of the stop sign and we were freshly scrubbed for school. Maybe someday I'll go back and play...or just remember all the fun we used to have standing down there all those years ago.