Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, December 14, 2012


When you're a little kid, Friday doesn't matter.  It's just another day (assuming you're of an age to know what a "day" is).  When I was growing up--in my pre-school years--the only day of the week that had any consequence at all for me was Sunday.  That was the day I had to dress up (yuk), go to Sunday School (yuk), and--a bit later, when I was able to sit still without embarrassing my parents and grandparents (who often went with us)--church (yuk).  Grandma, by the way, had developed some strategies for dealing with restless Danny.  Among my favorites--tying her handkerchief into the shapes of various animals.  I especially liked her rabbit.  But anything was better than a sermon, you know?

But the year when I would turn five, that was the year that I learned the glory of Friday because that was the year I started Mrs. Dugan's kindergarten.  (Somewhere there's a picture of me dressed like a pilgrim for a kindergarten Thanksgiving program--a pilgrim in sneakers, blue jeans, stained T-shirt, pilgrim collar and hat.  Later, had I wandered into the Massachusetts Bay Colony looking like that, they would have hanged me while Hester Prynne cheered.)

In kindergarten I learned to love Fridays, very soon.  Because when kindergarten ended at Friday noon (yes, half-day kindergarten), I was free to become a child again.  Free to do nothing--except, of course, follow instructions at home: clean my room, make my bed, carry my dishes out to the kitchen--those sorts of odious requirements.  And once the excitement and novelty of kindergarten wore off (day or two after I started? a week?), I was routinely late, mostly because I was constitutionally incapable of walking by Kiwanis Park without stopping to sample its pleasures.

Site of Kiwanis Park,
Enid, OK
I walked to kindergarten--a straight, two-and-a-half blocks or so along Broadway Ave. in Enid, Oklahoma, a route that passed Kiwanis Park, which featured a slide, swings, a nasty creek (home to some cool looking crawdads), a merry-go-round.  Crack cocaine for a five-year-old.  Every now and then my mom, getting a call from Mrs. Dugan, would have to come get me in the park, walk me the rest of the way to kindergarten.  I cried.

As my school years went on, Fridays became ever more dear as school became ever more drear.  I can feel it now--that euphoria born on Friday morning, its childhood and adolescence during the school's early hours, its swelling  into adolescence at lunch, then to full ripe adulthood by mid-afternoon.  The frustration as I stared at the clock throughout last period.  Why don't those clock hands move?  My exhilaration as I heard the bell.  Heading outside.  Breathing the air of freedom ... grabbing my bike from the rack at the school, gliding off into the neighborhood with nothing to do.  Maybe find some friends.  Head for the crack cocaine of Kiwanis Park!


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