When I was in 7th grade I walked to and from school each day - a short 3 block jaunt. Sometimes I'd get slightly side tracked on the way home. Boys. The playground. Swinging on the flagpole. There were plenty of distractions.
One afternoon as I walked down the long, ambling hill of the junior high school with two of my friends, one of them began telling a story. A story of a group of some big bad older girls who had broken bottles on the pitcher's mound of the baseball field. We all looked over at the field as we walked by. It was swept clean now, the bases just lightly dusted with dirt, the bleachers quiet.
I don't remember who suggested we follow in the footsteps of the older girls. But suddenly we were digging glass bottles from the trash. We flung them, one by one, taking turns watching the glass shatter on the hardness of the pitcher's mound. Great joy was to be found in the freedom of destruction, the knowledge of open rebellion. Shards of glass crashed and splattered across the crunchy dirt, splayed over the field.
Finally, we ran out of bottles. Our energy ran down too. But the high over our actions lived on as we ambled back to the road to continue our walk home. And that's when it happened.
The door on a tiny brick house across the street from the baseball field opened. And out walked a lady, toting a trash can and several brooms.
"Well, you girls have had your fun. Now you'd better clean this up before you head on."
Guilt descended on us all like a shroud, cloaking us in darkness. Shame. We each took a broom and a dustpan, and we began cleaning. We knew what we'd done was wrong, and we made every effort to get up each stray shard of glass. Then, and only then, did we go home. And no, I don't think I mentioned this one to my parents!
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Be sure to come back next week - the topic is Cookouts and Barbecues, just in time for July 4th!