Today is my best friend's birthday. Actually, she's not really my best friend. Not anymore, anyway. In fact, I can't even remember the last time we spoke.
Wait, yes I can.
[glances at calendar]
It will be 28 years, this coming June.
You see, Shirley and I fought our way out of grew up in the same neighborhood and, if I think real hard, I could probably even remember the street she lived on.
Okay, I give up. I can, however, tell you that her family lived a few blocks closer to the Arthur Kill, which afforded their house a better view of the Staten Island dump.
Then again, even the "uptown" folks had no choice but to acknowledge our neighbors from across the river....especially, in the summertime.
After a while, you sort of grew used to the smells, I guess and, well, quite frankly, we were too busy having fun, just being kids, to even notice, anything other than which street lights to watch for (hint: NOT the ones with the smashed bulbs) a clear signal that it was, you know, time to go home.
"Why don't you go and get some fresh air?"
My youngest is 8 and, well, not only do my parents insist that Hopey is as...ahem...active and rambunctious as I was (especially, at that age) she is also, part monkey (see picture above) I think.
"What are you doing?"
Still, a lot has changed since I was a kid. The dumps aren't visible any longer (there's a new project refreshingly referred to as the Fresh Kills Park) today, I'm missing the old neighborhood (sort of) and my best friend, Shirley (Happy Birthday, wherever you are!) and, well, there's a teeny-tiny part of me that will always be partial to the smell of garbage.
"Allllllll...most...GOT IT -- I'm trying to help keep the Earth clean!"
Disrespecting where you live...no matter where you live...not so much.
"Can you buh-leeve some big, fat jerk left garbage on OUR playground!"
What can I say? She's got a mouth, like her muh-thuh!
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