Probably are. I am.

I was listening to a friend, a couple of years older than I am, and he was describing how few the distractions were when we were kids.

In the United States, particularly in the rural South, there just wasn’t a lot going on. If you lived in a remote Southern town, as I usually did, there was often no television because the broadcast stations were too far away for you to get a decent signal. Telephones, if available, were usually party lines, because private lines were pricey, if available at all.

Long-distance phone calls were placed through an operator, not directly dialed, and were expensive.

So a young kid had time to kill. We’d read a lot. If we had neighbors nearby with kids our age, we’d get together and have little adventures. If you loved to draw, as I did, you’d spend plenty of time doing that.

One summer, in East Texas, I’d save up my allowance to walk a mile or so on the dirt road to the nearest general store. I’d saved up my allowance so I had 50 cents to spend. That meant I could buy five funny books. That store, like most of that type back then, was a weathered wooden building set on cement blocks, and carried everything one could want, from a gallon of porch paint to a $4 pocket watch.

Kid walking

Only grownups wear shoes in the summer.

I’d spend an hour or so checking the spinner rack for what comic books I absolutely had to have. If I had 50 cents, I’d be able to buy five comics. So I chose wisely.

Usually, I’d buy four comics and two candy bars. I’d eat one of the candy bars sitting on the front porch of the store before walking home. Then I’d only have to share one of them with my little brother. After all, I had done all the walking and spent my own money. So Jeffrey would have to be content with half a Payday or Butterfinger.

Then I’d wander home and spend the next few days reading those comics over and over. Nothing to really distract me. If I saw a picture in one that captured my eye, I’d spend a couple of hours trying to draw it; seeing what it was that made that image special and compelling.

Superboy 091

I remember buying this and reading it over and over until the covers fell off. Summer, 1961. I still have what’s left of it.

We lived at the intersection of the Sabine River and the Intercoastal Waterway that summer, so I’d play around in or near those if my mom wasn’t looking.

I’d try to catch fiddler crabs. I’d be on the lookout for snakes, who were surely on the lookout for me. I’d chase my dog around and then she’d chase me around. I’d make lists of all the birds I saw. Sometimes my brother and I would make a tepee out of sticks and a blanket and we’d spend the night on the front lawn. Trying to learn to play a harmonica was kind of fun, but also frustrating.

Old Mr Toad

It wasn’t all comic books. These and Doctor Dolittle were my favorites. The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Junior came later.

All this is in the way of an apology for not posting anything new for such a long time. I get caught up doing other things. I get distracted by the day-to-day that I’m involved in. I love the new technology and wouldn’t give it up, but I’m going to try to find more time to just kick back and mull things over in a leisurely way. There’s good in that.