When I was a child the world was cotton candy and peppermint sticks Mickey Mouse Club and Mister Magoo church dinners and lip synching in the choir Easter egg hunts and Halloween costumes thirty-mile drives to the movies with random waving at strangers in their yards or on their tractors would they wave back they usually did and long vacation trips to see the greatness of our land Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls Mount Vernon, Lincoln Memorial counting license plates from faraway states how exotic to be the California family waving back at us from the rear of their Buick station wagon basketball and baseball in backyards and empty lots All-American dreams and a pretty girl with long braids and pleasing smile that I would surely marry and live happily beside with kids and a dog until death did us part but that was long ago and no more than a half-recalled dream in a time when the world is guns and missiles murders and mayhem cyber scams and street crime cop killers and killer cops autocrats and racists the poor and the sick drugs and divorce strangers who wave back only with their middle finger pandemics and a choking planet while heedless of warnings our hands remain around its neck is this our great land or are we Rome in its mortal throes and I’ve put away in my mind those childish things from that long-ago dream in a chest with a lock and a key I can use to peek in at cotton candy and peppermint sticks and all is well once again.
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