Did you grow up in suburban America?
Well I did.
Our house lied at the center of the neighborhood serving as a beacon for frenetic young children to ventilate their hedonistic rituals without the huff and puff of their elders down their backs. Laissez faire confectionary thoughts were slalomed around with the garrulousness of wayward tots. We had whimsically weird times in our strange little universe.
This song was inspired by our legendary man hunt games. Our mother grew accustomed to our rip roaring energy at dinner during these nights. We appeased her heart purely out of virility for our verbosity was notably scant during the pregame meal. She had no control over a luminous moon and a can of root beer.
A regular pack of kids from around the hood would show up to play as darkness settled in. No cell phones were around to distract from the spectacle or to alert others of their presence. You knew where the game was and you came or you chose to kick it at home perhaps favoring your knee while cuddling your soulless Furby™ eating your cowardice all the while.
The game revolved around home base which rotated between the stop sign and our extraordinarily loose street sign. The aim of the game was simple. Score as many points as possible by avoiding the defense to slap home base. One team hid while the other sat snugly in the garage brazenly speculating for a rollicking few minutes. When the defense felt the hiding team had enough time to assume position, the garage door slowly opened and the game began after a grace period of thirty seconds or so to allow the defense time to surround the base.
The rules grew fudgy here. We generally stated as a defender you could not be closer than twenty feet to the base unless assailing a sprinting enemy. This was broken all of the time since the pack loosely fluctuated and we refused to make concrete boundaries as it would sully the experience. Puppy guarding was the operative term employed to discount points if the defense was peevishly hugging base like their mothers leg. The game was most fun when at least five people were on each team and the defense was actively peering in bushes and scanning pine trees for the slightest movement. There were many factors as kids were called home, rain might settle in, and perhaps most intriguing was when the lamp post flickered or harbored a humming fleet of gnats.
These games were competitive and the darkness kept us pressed together. While we did live in a well-cradled neighborhood, there was an aura of fear once you faded from the lamppost’s glow. The garage was a safe haven while those out hiding were subjected to the lawless night. Darkling nostalgia is a monster. A monster I like to visit once in a while…