I was driving through Belmont today on the way home from school. The bus ahead had just spat out a gaggle of kids. Five of them jumped onto a white lawn and started throwing snowballs at each other. I laughed. It’s just what kids are meant to do, even though it’s not allowed at school.
And then I flashed back. To about 1960.
An 11-year-old kid had just been released from school. The wet white stuff was falling. He walked along Bedford Park Avenue in Toronto with two words on his mind: “good packing”. For those of you in southern climes, that means the snow sticks together well. The boy started winging snowballs at his friends and other kids. He was splatted a few times in return. “By accident”, one of the missiles happened to hit a car crawling by. Unfortunately that car was driven by a teacher at Bedford Park Public School, and he recognized … me.
The next morning I was in the principal’s office, quivering about what I knew would be next. Ah yes, corporal punishment. The strap. A long piece of leather with the power to decimate an open palm. And it did.
Today, in my rental car Bullet, I reflected on how I’d changed from little to big, from young to old. Now I was the one with power and status. I have the responsibility to maintain my home and pay my taxes. I don’t play “guns” in the back alley anymore.
Am I still that young fellow on Bedford Park Avenue? Do I still feel the thrills of being alive? Yes, I do. They’re different thrills, for sure, but I still glow hot and jump up and down. May we all continue to throw ourselves into life. May we continue to have fun.