Childhood memory #18: Every Easter we went out to a family friend’s house in the country, and everything about those afternoons was dream-like—the spread of the potluck dishes across the picnic tables, the horseback rides through the sprawling yard, the egg hunt with dozens of screaming children—but my favorite part was always the snake hunt. There’d be everyone from toddlers to teenagers, and everyone would find a stick. That was actually the biggest part of the “hunt”—finding your stick and then whacking weeds and trees with it as we clomped along the dirt roads around the house, sometimes still in our fancy Easter dresses. I think one time we found a dead snake. But maybe it was a shoestring.
Childhood memory #19: The smell of a tacklebox. A rubber lure. Worms like jelly—I held them flush to my nose and inhaled them.
Childhood memory #20: I didn’t ride in the back of a pickup on Interstates or highways, but I could ride in the back on dirt roads. And also in neighborhoods for short distances. And also if we were only going to be on the highway for a VERY SHORT TIME. I’d have our black lab, Jake, to wrap my arms around. He was solid. This is, granted, not something I would ever let my own child do, but, oh, the textures of it have not faded much. The hot wind snarling my hair, drying my eyes, the metal near burning hot wherever my arms and legs touched, the slam of backbone against the edge of the bed if we hit a pothole. Dog drool, streaming. The flotsam and jetsam—leaves, pecans, occasional wrappers—that would swirl around my criss-crossed legs.