Thursday, August 26, 2010

Childhood Memories

I wrote this poem in the early part of this year. And you will find that it's where many of the lyrics to the song I posted a few months ago, came from. Enjoy.

Ashley and me muddin' on the Tivoli

The afternoon sun was just

beginning to burn the air.

It was the time after church,

after your Mama

has filled your belly

with a slow cooked roast, potatoes

and endless selection of vegetables

that all taste like bacon.

The time of day

when you have to move

before the sleepy threat

of a full stomach and lazy day

tells you to close your eyes.

I headed down the old dirt road,

kicking the barking dogs

from my bike tires

to meet Ashley.

Hearing the same call of adventure,

I, unsurprisingly, found her waiting,

under the towering pine

we called half way.

We hopped on our bikes,

pockets full

of our daddies’ loose change,

making a game of riding,

kickstands rattling,

through the same pot holes,

that our parents tried so desperately

to miss in their shiny cars.

The mirage in the distance

made it look like a silky ribbon

of new asphalt.

But we knew better,

as the vision was devoured

with the sharp teeth

of rocks and an unmaintained

patchwork of old cement

that made up the seemingly forgotten path.

When the road turned to dirt,

we fought like warriors on horseback

against washboards and quicksand

dismounting to push

when it got too thick to ride.

We headed to Ms. Betty’s

For candy cigarettes and airheads.

Heading back again,

we both wondered to ourselves

if that little piece of freedom

was worth the sweat of the dirt struggle.

We rode to the culvert that drained

to what we considered our domain;

The 400 yard ribbon of wild tomboy adventure

following the property line of Hendley’s place.

Hopping over branches and under washed out roots

ponytails and braids swinging

in a canopy of live oak trees

easily 20 times our age.

We stopped along the way to send

wax-bottomed leaf boats

with their skinny captains

down miniature currents

to empty into the Tivoli.

The freshwater,

sandy bottomed creek bed

turned to sticky, tar like black mud

crawling with fiddler armies

waving their weapons to deter the giant

enemy’s invasion.

Kicking caked feet 8 times their true size,

we swam over to the low-tide, oil slick bank

of the Tivoli.




knee deep in the mud

up to the edge of the marsh.

Spreading out our bodies on the cool mud,

we slithered back down

into the piercing jabs

of a multitude of passing shrimp

on parade to our neighbor’s cast net.

An unforeseen revenge for the attack

on our tender legs.

Whoo wee!

pierces the air like a strange distress signal.

Looking over to the dock,

Hendley drops the ladder,

with a silver splash, into the river.

We ride the almost still tide on its way to the sea

To our unbidden rescue,

an unsure footing of the dock

floating on the currents of the Tivoli.

Seeing the gleam in his eye,

We follow him up the ramp to the shed

slick feet,

dripping clothes,

among sniffing, tickling dogs’ noses

to a 5 gallon bucket

of fresh boiled shrimp.

Filling our now empty bellies

we lay back in the grass,

staring through the specked light of a live oak.

Sitting up, we race to the tire swing

Taking turns




Hendley’s diminishing outside bend

of the Tivoli.

Baking sun,

warm breeze,

eyes closed,

wings outstretched

catching flight.

In stiff damp clothes,

itchy, salty skin,

we kick the sand,

and pat the furry heads of the dogs,

as we head back to our bikes that we

left in a heap

at the culvert.

We pedal hard,

this time alone,

and in opposite directions,

weaving to miss the pot holes and quicksand pits,

racing against the creep

of the evening

and the bite of the mosquitoes.

We return to our air conditioned houses

overlooking the marsh flats

with our families and weekly rotes

until the call of the Tivoli

the following lazy

Sunday afternoon

beckons us to her muddy adventure

once again.

Cleaning up on the dock

We got to visit Ashley and her Hubby this summer in Missoula. We haven't changed much. We're still playing in the woods and in constant preparation of our next adventure. These days, they tend to be a bit further from the river we grew up on.

Our families now: Me, Aeneas, Justin, Patrick, Ashley, Maisie and Aaron.


  1. Yay! I'm just wondering why we wore such huge t-shirts and why I didn't keep my tongue in my mouth in the Big Dipper picture.

  2. that was so good anna! miss you : )

  3. miss you so much. please come to the mountains:)