Though my childhood was rough their were light patches sprinkled throughout. I remember the trips we took to Belle Isle: all of us scrunched up in Dad red Nissan, doubled, sometimes tripled up on each other’s lap.
My favorite part was going through the tunnel of orange lights. Once we reached them I knew it was only a little bit further until we got there and I could play.
We’d build sand castle and swim at the beach. We’d also barbecue in the half oil drums turned grills.
I can still remember the sight of smoke wafting off them. The smell of hot dogs, hamburgers and sides of ribs cooking and the smell of barbecue sauce fills my nose as I remember this.
And when that wasn’t an option we’d ride the giant slide. Waiting in line felt like forever, but really had to have been only ten, fifteen minutes tops. We’d pair up on the straw mats you had to ride on and of we went. The rides always seemed to be over in an instant.
When you’re a kid things are skewed. Minutes seem like years and a week is an eternity in kid years.
On one trip I remember every time my uncle and his girlfriend went into the water the sun went behind a cloud. I got mad and thought they were responsible for ruining a nice day at the beach.
Looking back on this now I laugh. I couldn’t have been older than five when this happened. Aw, the folly of being a kid, when the most innocuous of things could bring you delight or fright. That magical time when you believed everything and knew nothing.
But I’ll never forget one memorable trip.
We’d stopped at Popeye’s Chicken on the way there and the seagulls were out in full force circling above us. Things were fine until my sister Sherrie stuck our a drumstick and a gull dive bombed her and pilfered the piece of poultry from her hand. She cried until Dad gave her another one and told her not to do that again.
As I got older trips to Belle Isle became fewer until we stopped going at all. In its place were trips to the mall or other places to shop. When the sweltering heat got too much to bear we headed to Rouge Park and their public swimming pools.
The chlorinated water stung your eyes and burned your throat if swallowed some by accident. They made you shower before entering the pools ,but must of us only splashed some water under our arms and that did the trick.