I’ve lived in the suburbs of Flint my entire life. As a kid I was sort of a country boy, I grew up in the middle of 72 acres, surrounded by woods, farm fields and an apple orchard.
I spent my summers exploring the woods and fields, shooting bottles with my slingshot or BB gun, playing outside from morning until it was time for dinner and camping out in tents or the clubhouse my dad built me before he passed away.
We didn’t have video games until I got an Atari when I was 15, unless you count the Pong game I had hooked up to my little black and white TV I kept in my bedroom. I loved sitting outside on a hot summer day, under the shade of a tree, with a Pepsi or Coke while I read a book.
I was lucky enough to have a nice above ground swimming pool and I had friends over to swim when the summer heat became too much. My brother lived on a lake, so we spent many a Saturday or Sunday in the summer swimming there too. I always liked swimming to the raft he had anchored off the beach where we could jump into the deep water or lay out and dry off.
Winters were a lot of fun there too. Sledding, snowball fights and building snowmen and snow forts. Didn’t matter if it was freezing cold, we still had fun. If we got too chilled we go in for hot soup and grilled cheese, or hot chocolate. That always did the trick.
I learned a lot about nature there too. My dad had the nickname “Birdman” because he loved birds and would watch his bird feeders from the window so he could see what kind of birds were visiting to eat. He went out one day and bought a book about birds found in North America with pictures so he could identify some of the birds we were seeing. Till this day I still can remember many of the birds there and can point out a Baltimore Oriole or Downy Woodpecker at a glance.
Fox were another beastie we saw a lot of in our neck of the woods in Davison Township. We’d see the foxes moving in groups, packs if you will, through the fields around our house. They never came too close, but when you saw them they were usually trying to get as far away from you as they could.
Living in the suburbs wasn’t exactly country life I suppose. We weren’t farmers, though we did raise chickens, ducks and rabbits one year. We didn’t tool around in trucks and dirt bikes. It was just quiet, simple living. No neighbors, few trespassers except the occasional hunter who my dad ran off or a hobo or two who hopped off the train which ran behind our property. It was the only life I knew until I was 13 years old.
When I look back I miss those times, but I know living in the ‘burbs today is still something I enjoy more than living in the city or more urbanized areas. I suppose I’ll always have some of that country boy in me as long as I live. firstname.lastname@example.org