birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Endless Summers

Hometown is where you had your first kiss. It’s where you attended high school football games, where you got your first job babysitting or pumping gas. It’s where your friends lived when they were that age you see them as now, unless you don’t see them for a long time, in which case it takes a minute to realize that underneath that middle aged mug (what is middle aged? Another topic of discussion I had with some of my hometown friends recently) is the teenager you rode around dirt roads and drank beer with when you should have been home studying for your chemistry test.

Hometown is where you walk into Toomer’s Corner for the first time since you were 13 years old because you want your girls to have the best fresh squeezed lemonade anywhere on God’s green Earth and you hope they put it right there with visiting the grandparents, and James behind the counter says without batting an eye, “Saw your dad in here a while ago.”

Hometown is where they can tear down houses and build student apartments and parking garages, but every time you drive by you still see the old houses and the bike trails behind them, and you can hear the clack of the billiard balls in the Baptist Student Union, which they tore down last week, where you and your brother used to go play pool even though you were neither Baptists nor students but nobody kicked you out.

Hometown is where you can get across town even when 87,000 football fans come clogging up the streets tailgating before football games because you know every side street and back road and one-way alley.

Sometimes I don’t recognize my hometown with all the growth and development going on, all the big cars and trucks that replaced our Plymouth Dusters and Volkswagen Beetles, all the fancy boutiques that took the place of Uptown Records and Gandalf’s, but I can still see the ghosts of all these places, smell the incense burning in the Approach with is now a fancy pants restaurant, and feel the blazing orange sun on my bare arms on endless summer days.

My Snickerpoodle

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