Childhood in the country.

On warm spring nights like tonight, we used to sit on the porch swing and watch the fireflies sparkle in the grass. Actually, the swing wasn’t on a porch at all but was wedged in a patch of pachysandra between two oak trees beside our garage. The wooden swing sang and squeaked as we rocked without speaking, back and forth, back and forth.

If it wasn’t a school night, Lori would almost always appear, flashlight in hand, ready for a neighborhood game of tag. I would hop off the swing, leaving my mom and her glass of red wine, and race across the lawn and the gravelly edges of the road in my bare feet.

Four or five kids would gather — Lori and her older brother Patrick; scary Brian from across the street; tall, white-blond Michael; and occasionally curly-headed Jonathan, who looked like Michelangeo’s David, if he had been a boy of about nine. We would race the lightening bug and spear each other with our flashlights, bare feet flying over damp, satiny grass.

We would play for what seemed like hours, until my dad stepped out on the driveway and let out a long, shrill whistle — my cue to come in. Reluctant to leave, I would stroll back home, feeling the warmth of the pavement radiating through my feet and watching the stars and the fireflies twinkle.

Article © 2008 by Stacey Duck