Most of our readers have no idea what I’m talking about when I tell them I was a raised in a ditch. Yes, it’s one step up from being raised by wolves which explains most of my problems. The Ditch must have had its source somewhere in the Tundra and traveled through my yard and Martha’s on its way to the Gulf Coast.
Today I paid a visit to the ditch and had a long talk with my “Ditch Mate” Martha McHaney who died in an automobile accident in Houston on Friday. I could feel her spirit and know she is okay.
If you can envision that square space surrounded by seven or eight barefoot sunbaked kids, some turning summer salts around the iron bars and others setting off fireworks under the street in the tunnel which led to Martha’s house across the street, then you can understand the attraction of The Ditch. It offered mystery, danger (snakes showed up from time to time) and a great place to hide from your parents. During the rainy season, it became rapids we could ride on cardboard boxes.
It was like Six Flags on Broad Street.
There’s no telling what kind of toxins lived with us in “The Ditch.” I credit my health today from the immunities I built up while playing in The Ditch. No sanitizer existed in those days.
Phil, Martha, Larry, Barbara, Lota, Linda and I ended up in the ditch almost every day of our lives. Sometimes even Olivia and Tinker from the good side of the tracks joined us. We talked about life in terms only a ten-year old can understand. Sometimes the hooligans from Westbrook Street would invade our space. But they would soon tire of our philosophical discussions and go back home.
Today, I longed to take off my shoes and run in The Ditch again. One day soon, I’m going to do that. I’ll take my walker with me.