Throwing Strikes at Semis
All the snow we’ve had the past few weeks in Oklahoma reminds me of the great snowstorms we had as kids growing up in Braintree, Massachusetts.
“No school, all school, all day…”
That’s the phrase we listened for on the radio in the early morning whenever the snow fell. My brother, sister and I would sit by the radio (was it WJDA in Quincy?) as the announcer alphabetically read the list of school cancellations by town. We waited with anticipation as he finished reading the towns that began with the letter A. When he got to the B’s, we braced ourselves for the words we so desperately wanted to hear. And when we heard him finally say, “Braintree Public Schools,” it was pure joy. A free day off!
Snow days meant many things. It meant earning extra money shoveling people’s driveways on Hobart Street, after, of course, we had dug out our own. When my brother and I came back for lunch, I remember how we’d pull out all the bills and change from our pockets, how we’d hold up an occasional 5-dollar bill, thinking how rich we had just become.
Snow days meant building snow forts or sledding down the hill in back of Lincoln School on saucers, toboggans or Flexible Flyers. Snow days meant making snowmen or snow angels.
To most sandlotters, however, snow days meant throwing strikes at semis. We’d assemble arsenals of snowballs and wait behind trees or bushes along Hayward Street for the ambush. And when those 18-wheeler semi-trucks rumbled by, we’d spring out from our hiding spots, pelting the sides of their trailing boxes or tubes.
POP, POP, POP – KABOOM!
What better way to sharpen our throwing skills? (and running skills when the truck drivers sometimes stopped to give chase…) We learned the art of timing, to aim high and throw early.
We learned how to find the sweet spots of our targets.
_ _ _
It’s been warm here, lately. The other day, I was walking down the road and spotted a few remaining patches of snow. One of the melting mounds was the kind we’d seek out as kids when we set up camp on Hayward Street. I scooped up some of the white stuff and rolled it in my hands, crafting a snowball the way we used to do, so many years ago.
I couldn’t help but think of snow days and sweet spots.