The Ottumwa Courier


April 13, 2013

'Leafing' through the memories


Then I started thinking about outdoor memories in general. I can’t remember ever staying inside during my summer vacations, even in the rain.

Outside of our Summer Rec programs, my family (Mom, Dad, two brothers, a sister and me) spent many an evening outside playing catch and wiffle ball. Yes, we were a big baseball/softball family. If you hit the wiffle ball across the sidewalk, it was a home run.

I think, as the youngest, I was the only one to never accomplish that feat. Then there was the time one of my brothers (the younger one, but obviously still older than me), was rounding third base (the pavement we rolled our hose up on) and tripped over the window screens that just happened to be sitting out to dry after a cleaning earlier that day.

It happened to get caught on videotape, and we seriously considered sending “Mark’s Great Fall” into America’s Funniest Home Videos. We would sometimes head across the street to play “real” baseball on a grassy patch in the City Park.

I also spent hours upon hours on my bike, which was very special to me because I won it the first time I entered the raffle at our town’s annual bike safety rally.

We lived on a corner lot, and my sister and I would go outside after dinner, hop on our bikes and just ride until bedtime. We lived on a corner lot, so just riding up and down our sidewalk brought plenty of entertainment.

We would come out of our garage, go down the sidewalk, turn right, go down the other sidewalk, turn around in the alley, go back up the second sidewalk, turn left, go up the original sidewalk and turn around in our neighbors’ driveway. A leisurely round trip probably took me about five minutes when I first started riding.

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