Halcyon Days of Youth

Memories of working the foundry on hot summer days with his cousin.  Sweated and cussed their way through the day.  Punch the clock to freedom.


Grinding the grind, opportunity’s wheels seemingly turning over at the bank teller’s counter.  They took their price and paid their way to campfires and jumping off the dam at midnight.  Two young Americans sold a dream they believed in.


Water dripping from their smiles, a sliver of moon and friends stood witness to youth.  Water black as the surrounding shorelines ran over their feet.  Conewago was its name.


The future was far off.  No idea of its proximity, its closeness, ever entered their consciousness.  The sunrise was not even considered.


Later, asleep in their tents, the fire outside smoldered away.  Now passed by them.


But not to be outdone by other memories shared by him and his cousin. 


Once, they found themselves in tuxedos at a local bar.  Family members laughed and mocked as the two danced to the current hits on an empty dance floor.  The wedding day of a brother and cousin had continued on in their book.


Carefree maybe was the name of the dance they were doing.  Or maybe it was La Macarana, the Cabbage Patch, or something like that.  Whatever.  It did not matter to them.


The disco ball shined glitter colors on their smiles as bass lines pounded the floor and walls.  They never missed a beat. 


Then there was the fro, mishma and his cousin wearing John Lennon glasses.  Coming back from a pow-wow.  How they both loved Native American culture and spirituality. 


The back seat rider was soon off to the Air Force.  Summer was cut short a little early that year.  Still, a smile beamed in the rearview mirror, putting a smile on the driver’s face as well. 


Two wedding days of their own.  Two grooms.  Two best men.  Inseparable.  Toasts from hearts were given, despite their mutual discomfort with public speaking.


They danced again and again to a tune only they could hear.  The DJ’s selections did not matter.  On and on, music imbibing their souls.  They smiled from the inside place neither of them could touch.  


Soon off to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other points Middle East, one of them.  The other off to Honduras, and then California.  Emails sent.  Shared life on an electronic page. 


Times changed.  Responsibilities they did not see back at the dam happened.  Worries.  Concerns.  They were not getting young again, like they used to do.  


Jokingly, they wished for one more day at that foundry.  Quickly, they scratched that rose-colored dream and wished to be atop that dam on a summer night.  On tip toes poised to jump.  A same ole different Conewago flowing over  their feet. 


No sight of tomorrow’s sunrise was allowed in their dream.  No sight of the water below.  No sight of the surrounding darkness.  They wanted to go back. 


They did.


They looked inward to find outward, as they had always done before.   Their smiles hit the water first.  They decided to dive right in, as opposed to going feet first like in their younger days.

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