I had to drive to Franklin last night.  I was by myself and was able to take the long way back, as I’m prone to do when I’m around those parts, which isn’t often.  When I can, I find myself driving through those familiar roads I used to travel on a daily basis.  I don’t know why I feel the need to drive them.  Maybe it’s cause there’s some spots out there that haven’t changed a bit, in the midst of how so much out there is different now than it was when I lived there. 

There’s a place on Franklin Rd. just before you get to what’s now called The Factory (it was the Jamison Bedding Plant) there’s about a mile or two stretch of road that has not changed one bit.  For a minute, I thought I was in my 1979 Grand Am, smoking cigarettes, listening to Emmylou on my cassette player. 

So, I get to Concord Rd. and decide I’ll get on 65 from there.  I lived off Concord Rd. from the time I was 8 months old until the day I became Mrs. Smiff.  That road has changed quite a lot.  For one thing, it’s not a little, two lane road anymore.  Brentwood Baptist Church has built a ginormous complex there in what used to be a beautiful pasture. The railroad track is still there but the road goes over it now.  Used to, you’d have to cross it. 

Over the bridge is my school…Lipscomb Elementary School. (Not to be confused with David Lipscomb, although my school was named for Dave’s brother, William).  The building the Collie Sistas were schooled in was torn down in 1993 to make way for the current structure.

  I was pretty happy to see that the big tree that was in the front of the old school…is still there.The driveway that led to the front door of the school, where we’d get off and on the bus was where that bench is now. 

One morning, my mother took my sister to school (before I was big enough to go) and had to go in for some reason, and her car rolled down the hill and stopped at the fence there across the street that leads to the WSM property. Heh.   That is one tree right there, if’n I ever hear of them wanting to cut it down, I will march myseff out there sit at the trunk and protest about.  I love that tree.

This is the playground I played on a LOT from 1975 to 1981.  The equipment we played on is long gone, of course.  There used to be an old, wooden see-saw right there in the middle.  That sucker was OLD.  I got a splinter from that thing one time that stayed in my leg for months and months and finally, it worked itself out with a lot of infection, leaving a scar that is still visible.

To the right was the swingset, probably erected in 1955, that had swings and a trapeze-like thing.  One time, I guess it was about 5th grade, back in my “gymnast” days, my good friend Melanie Dukes was hanging by her knees and did a flip off of it…perfectly.  Well, I wasn’t gonna let that go…I could do that, too.  I attempted my Nadia-like dismount from the trapeze, landing right on my head, chipped my bottom tooth a little bit. 

This part of the playground faces Concord Rd. (see the tower?).  Just to the right used to be the dumpsters and it was a treat (WTF?) to get to take crap to the dumpster.  I guess it was an excuse to get out of the classroom.  To this day, if I’m ever near a dumpster or get a whiff of something that smells like nasty milk cartons, I think of this spot in the world.  Ain’t that sweet?  There was a swing right there next to the fence by the street and there was a tetherball thing just to the left.  Lordy mercy, there was some serrus Tetherball tournaments there.  I remember crying one time cause Melanie (dang, she was a thorn in my side and I never realized it til now!) beat me.  Heh. 

I decide to walk down to my old ballfields, which are behind the school.  I was surprised that there were no games being played on a Friday night in May.  I was kinda glad though, cause I got to look around really good.

The dugout on Field #3, where I played most of my softball games, looked pretty much identical to how it looked when your Sista was playing.  This scene makes me think of “Come-on-Sharon-you-can-do-it-put-a-little-power-to-it-Hit It- HARD…Hit It…HARD!”  I was a pretty good little hitter.  Sometimes, I was even the 4th batter…you know…”Cleanup”.  I don’t know that I ever hit a Grand Slam, although I do distinctly remember hitting a triple with the bases loaded oncet and feeling like I was the Shiz.

I spent a lot of time behind this plate, because back in those days, I was the Brentwood Civitan Ponytail League’s equivalent to Johnny Bench. (Hey, this is my memory and my blog, humor me here) I was a damn good catcher and I loooved it.  I tagged many a runner out here, oncet giving a girl a bloody nose.  Hate that for her.  Heh.  

 I’m so corny, cheesy and sentimental, I swear.  The whole time I was out here, I kept hearing this song running through my head…but, that whole area makes me feel sad for a time when life was pretty simple. I was blissfully unaware of bad things and my biggest concern was whether Coach Harrison was going to let me or Pam Hartman catch or if there was a game between my team and Melanie’s or Terri Leigh’s. This was before the dreaded Cancer entered our lives and Dad coached my team one year.

I had a good childhood and feel pretty blessed to be able to say that. I know not everybody can say that.

A League of Their Own ALWAYS makes me want to find my glove and play softball.  Always.