Telling Time

Telling Time

It has occurred to me that since my retirement from paid employment that time is beginning to resettle into its simpler forms that I knew in my earlier years.  At least there are days when time is simpler.

When I was four years old my parents purchased the only home they ever owned on what was then the very edge of the westside of Green Bay.  On the gravel road that our house was built on there was our house, one neighbor to the west of us, and then field after open field.  Those all were fields that used to be farmed, but the owner decided that development paid better than the going price of alfalfa and field corn and twice-daily milkings.  About one mile farther west there were fields that were still actively farmed. 

During our summer vacations from school time was extremely simple.  All you needed was a stomach and a streetlight.  When we woke up it was breakfast time.  Then my brother Mike and I scrambled out the door armed with bb guns, slingshots or baseball bats.  If we had baseball equipment we headed up the road to Murphy Park where there was an actual softball diamond.  Whoever was at the park got divided roughly in half and a game was begun.  We adhered to the rule of only getting three outs for every “ups”, but we never kept track of the innings; instead, we played until lunchtime.  Once hunger had reached the tipping point, someone yelled “last raps” which meant the team that was behind was down to their final three outs. 

If we were armed to pester critters, usually meaning gophers or starlings, we headed out into those vacant farm fields and roamed all morning, again, until lunch time.

After lunch, we again headed outside to play.  We roamed the fields or the park until it was time for supper.  After supper it was time to shift gears and play games closer to home like One O’clock, Two O’clock, the Ghost is Out Tonight.  There were several other games, but most of them were just different versions of hide and seek.

Since there were so few houses it was easy to see the one streetlight that was on the corner of Dousman and Murphy.  When the streetlight came on, it was time to go home.  Sometimes it took a while for someone to notice that the streetlight was on, especially when the game was intense.  My father had little patience for tardiness; I never quite figured out how we “should have known”, but I was smart enough not to argue the point.

Of course, there were situations where using an actual clock was helpful, such as knowing that it was time for Bonanza, or time for Gunsmoke, or time for Walt Disney.    

There were some unpleasant times as well.  For me, the most inconvenient was when my mother announced that it was “bath time”.  Thankfully that only happened on Saturday evenings.     

Perhaps my favorite was when it was vacation time for my father.  In my family that meant that we were headed up to the Nicolet National Forest to go camping.  Then everyone, even my parents, were on a simpler schedule.  Then you just had to get appropriately ready when it was fishing time, or swimming time, or hiking time.  Those times were extra special because they were the times that my father spent time with us.  The best was campfire time.  I loved watching the flames and the glowing embers and toasting the occasional marshmallow.  That image has much to do with the name of this blog.  If it’s OK with you, I think that I ‘m going to stay for a while in that moment with the memories of my mom and dad and brother around the campfire.  You can go on ahead; I’ll catch up when it’s time. 

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan

Photo by Cole Parrant on Unsplash

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash