Do You Believe in Magic?

Do You Believe in Magic?

Looking back at those long-ago days and nights, I can’t say what made our backyard special; but it was. There were nicer yards, with better trees, grass, and kid-type attractions, but those other yards were missing something. I never gave it much thought until after I was grown and began to look back on childhood days with smiles and longing.

All these thoughts came rushing at me when I saw a book in the bookstore yesterday. On the cover there was a tire swing, and the book was titled Magic in the Backyard. At the time, I wasn’t even thinking about those childhood days; jumping on the trampoline, whispering secrets in the tree house, playing basketball, and every other imaginable sport and game, but when I picked up the book and stared at the title and cover picture, a smile began to blossom on my face, and I whispered, “That’s what it was; magic!”

For whatever reason, our backyard was the one all the neighborhood kids flocked to. Oh, I remember rare moments of solitude on the old trampoline with the rusted frame and squeaky springs; lying on my back, hands clasped behind my head, staring up into a star-filled sky. Mostly though, I recall summer days when six, eight, twelve—and on occasion more than that—kids filled that yard with noise, laughter and the complete abandon to joy only children can know.

Some nights, my best friend and I would throw sleeping bags on the ground and sleep under those uncountable stars—after, of course, we’d snuck off and explored the neighborhood, slipping from shadow to shadow; unlikely heroes in search of a damsel in distress. Our search went unrewarded most nights; unless you count the not-quite-ripe peach pilfered from old man Smith’s tree. Then, staring up at the stars we’d have quiet conversations about real life damsels, and assorted other things that dart through the minds of adolescent boys. If I remember correctly, those topics, in order, were damsels, damsels and damsels.

Yes, when I line up my memories and try to put them in order best to worst, those in that backyard find their way to the top of the list with ease. They’ve found their way into my poems and short stories, as well, and many of them are in the archives of this blog.

I bought the book, and can’t wait to see what made Kellie Elmore’s backyard magical. Kellie is the author of Magic in the Backyard, and though she grew up in Tennessee—in a different time—and I spent my youth in a small Arizona farm town, I have a feeling there will be some similarities in the tales we tell. And as for the question of why our backyards were magical; who can know. If magic could be explained… well then… it wouldn’t be magic would it?

Posting this short story to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday for April 6, 2012

28 Comments »

  1. terri0729 said

    Yes, I do!!! Kellie’s magic anyway, lol! Nice one Charlie. smiles, Terri

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    Lovely story that reminds me of my own magical backyard. I spent countless hours lying on the concrete patio (the grass was itchy, and the concrete was warm) staring up at the sky and trying to locate the constellations. I spent even more countless hours perched up in the tallow tree in the backyard with my invisible friend, Herman. We had many magical adventures together! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  3. The children congregating in your yard is a testimonial to the love your family must have exuded. As my children grew up, all the neighborhood gathered at my house. So happy our home made them gather there too.
    Love your reminisces, my friend.

    • Thanks, Susan! I have to say it was mostly my mom. She loved all our friends, and everyone felt welcome. She is a very special lady!

      • In my humble disclosure, the kids gave my husband a wide birth but wanted me to join in their play. Your Mom must have been special…she produced a thoughtful son.

      • Thank you very much for the wonderful compliment. Mom definitely gets most of the credit for whatever good comes out of me. (Emphasis on the good!)

  4. Ah, there is no grass greener than the grass of childhood! Great write, thanks for sharing!

  5. Mikael said

    Wow… uh, was this not my childhood? Yours sounds a lot like mine when I was 6. Seriously sounded like my life. AWESOME FWF contribution.

    • I take it you had a magical backyard, too! It’s wonderful to have these memories!
      Thanks for the visit and wonderful comment, Mikael!

  6. Shawna said

    “rare moments of solitude on the old trampoline” … I loved those moments! And sleeping on the trampoline was so much fun. 🙂

    • I know! I don’t know how many hours I spent on that old trampoline, but it was a bunch! And, yes, slept on it sometimes, too.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Shawna!

      • Shawna said

        I never had one of my own, but a couple of my friends did. Sleepovers on the trampoline were the best!

  7. elizena said

    I loved this Charles! You know of all the backyards in my life, the one we had in our little Petersburg, Texas town was the magical one. The grass was tall and I would shrink and become a fairy and I’d ride the bees and the wind would sing me its light and airy songs. Later I’d sit under a tree surrounded by tall grass and make necklaces out of dandelions and long bits of grass. My mom would hang out the sheets and blankets on the line and they’d become my tents and when the train would blow through town I’d pretend I was on that train and riding all over the world, of course then I didn’t know that trains couldn’t cross the ocean. LOL! But oh what wonders I experienced and sometimes even now I’m not so sure that I didn’t actually fly with the birds and become a fairy. Childhood is such a magical time, but each one of us has some very special memories and now I’m so tempted to read your friend’s book so I can share her memories.
    May you and your lady wife be awesomely blessed this Easter. In Christ Jesus.

    • In commenting on my story, you’ve created a very good one of your own! You should submit your comment as an entry to Kellie’s Free Write Friday!
      Thank you for stopping by for a visit, and for leaving this awesome comment on my story!

  8. Marliz3e said

    It was wonderful wandering down memory lane with you!!

  9. Charles this reminds me of many of my own times… “Oh, I remember rare moments of solitude on the old trampoline with the rusted frame and squeaky springs; lying on my back, hands clasped behind my head, staring up into a star-filled sky” and I was actually, just tonight, working on one about a trampoline for Shawnas prompt!

    I love this so much and it makes me sad in a way… I wish so badly that I had shared more stories in my book. I have so many and this being my first book, I rushed, I feel, to get it published. I am working on a new manuscript and it will hold more stories rather than poetry. I hope my book did not disappoint you 😦 PLEASE let me know what you think ok?

    • I know what you mean, Kellie. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. But, go with it, and learn; if there are lessons to be learned. Like you say, this is your first one, and there will be more. And, yes, I will let you know what I think of the book, and will review it on Amazon, too. I can’t imagine it being anything short of fantastic though.
      Thanks for inspiring me with your wonderful prompts and blog!

      • Thank you so much for that, Charles! I really appreciate you always encouraging me. It means so much!

      • That’s my job, lil lady!

  10. This is a great story with some awesome memories! Sounds like a “magical” childhood and a magical backyard for sure!

    This line is classic!:

    “If I remember correctly, those topics, in order, were damsels, damsels and damsels.”

    • Part of the magic was that we lived through it. This story talks about all the good stuff, but it wasn’t all trampolines and starry nights. If you’d like to read a little bit about the flip-side of the coin, check out this one:

      • thanks for letting me know there is more to the story…clicking the link now…

  11. hmmm….apparently the link is broken….I saw it in my “notification” bar, but couldn’t “click” it…and here it doesn’t show up at all ???

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