It’s wonderful to be back in my boyhood hometown again to visit with my now elderly mother. It seems like centuries ago when I was growing up here. Back then, this small town was just a backdrop that formed the unremarkable environment in which I lived my everyday life.
Mom’s doing great for her age, but she’s moving slower these days. After a lengthy but heartwarming talk in the den about my wife, the kids and how well work is going back in the big city far from here, we have reached the point of being all talked out for now.
What a perfect time to go for a walk and get some fresh air. The outside loudly calls for a look around the neighborhood to see how things have changed, and how things have stayed the same. As I walk down the street, it’s like I’m on my trusted bicycle riding around as a young boy. I’m on yet another grand mission on my bike again. Oh, the places my bike could take me, and did.
There’s the small corner store, just a quick bike ride down one street and up another, where I can get an ice-cold soda in a glass bottle with the red metal cap. Inside is the long candy aisle where I must carefully consider my choices; will it be a candy bar, or pack of football cards with the bonus flat piece of bubble gum, or a handful of fireball jawbreakers? … The freedom to decide continues unabated¸ only the stakes are higher with time, requiring proportionally greater wisdom.