The Best Of Times

Those were the best of times.  We rode down the dirt road with the wind in our face.  We lived a life of adventure and exploration.  We were friends for life sharing all we had through the good time and the bad.  We shared our hard-earned coins; small rewards from our chores or raking leaves from a neighbor’s yard.

We went to Saturday morning matinée for 12 bottle caps and watched pirate movies or a western.  Then we would get on our bikes and ride, a brotherhood built during those summer days.  We would ride like knights of old seeking the fruits of our imagination.  We built forts in the woods and defended them through our heroic deeds.

At the end of the day, we headed home stopping at the crossroads to say goodbye.  For those few hours, we were experiencing the best day of our life.  It was a time of innocence and imagination with the wind in our face and the knowledge that we were friends.

As we got older our bond as brothers became stronger.  It was a friendship that would always remain throughout our lives. We walked tall when others hid.  We climbed the tallest trees, rode the fastest bikes and built the biggest tree house.  When others said that it couldn’t be done we said step aside and we did it.  We were like the fury of the storm and the calm that comes after the clouds pass.

Those were the best of times.  It was a moment when the sun shined the brightest and the night skies were filled with the most stars, and we embraced the time to the fullest knowing that it would not last forever.  We knew that one day soon we would put the bikes in the sheds never to be touched again, and we would sit down with our favorite comic books for one last read.  The last movie we saw together was 2001 A Space Odyssey.  We knew that an era had ended and our innocence gone.  These were days that we would never have again.

We took our bikes out for one last ride to a creek near town.  There on the high bluffs, we rode our bikes down dead man’s hill for the last time.  We raced back down the creek bank on foot laughing all the way.  We buried a cigar box wrapped in plastic filled with memories of our childhood, comic books, toy soldiers, and the leather wristbands we wore as our own secret brotherhood.  I was leaving the next day to play music on the road and the goodbyes were rough.

We all went our separate ways that day.  Never would the days be like those again.  Never did we get together again and those days of summer faded into our own special memories.  While I have lived a very good life filled with love and happiness nothing has ever quite touched the years I spent with my childhood friends.

Point Of View

The world took us all on different paths.  One of my friends became a minister and one was lost in Vietnam.  I never saw either again which always pulls on my heart.  We get too busy in our work and our drive for success to realize that if we don’t make time for those that we grew up loving, they may fade to black and we will lose them forever.  What I would give just to ride down that dirt road with the wind in our face and a life filled with possibilities just one more time.

Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
I have 40 years of Retail Management experience. I am the person they send in to fix things. Call it a Store Focus Specialist, a Smoke Jumper, an Outlaw. I can work within the system or go outside the box when needed. I love walking into chaos and bringing order. I am not a key word person and my education came from mentors not schools. I believe that everything that we do starts with hiring the right people. Driving sales, merchandising, customer service and metrics are just keywords until you hire the right people. My top talents are Recruiting, hiring, training, associate development, and going into a focus store and turning it around. Most importantly I believe in people and that if you teach them, develop them and believe in them they will do far more than they thought possible.

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  1. Beautiful memories conceptually recreated so well I became an instant partner in all your ’conquests, ’ Dear Larry!

    Taking a lead from your valuable advice, I still enjoy my over-half-a-century old friendship with one of class mates, so much so that he came to Dubai, from India, to spend three days with us while I and my wife were there for vacation a year ago.

    Thanks, with Warm Regards!

  2. After a certain age, we attend fewer people and above all we lose contact with those who until recently were our best friends. The group is gradually reduced, meets with less and less frequency and with more tiredness. At a certain point, rather than a true company, they remained scattered friendships that we hear once in a while and with which we always end up recalling the memories of the “good times”. But who wants to spend time immersed in nostalgia when, perhaps, we can go out with some colleague we have just met, with whom we do not share a burden as heavy as the past spent together and which therefore allows us to have fun without too many difficulties (provided that don’t you spend time talking about work)?
    Obviously, in the dissolution of the friendships there are also practical reasons: after the age of 25, almost everyone starts working. And work not only brings us into contact with new knowledge (colleagues), but takes away time and energy, when it does not coincide with a transfer. In this last case, when we see each other again we realize that those same people with whom we spent entire nights discussing, talking, today have become people with whom we have very little to share.
    In short, there are valid reasons if friendships break up and contacts with many friends are lost. The important thing is that this moment of transition that we all pass through does not lead us to be alone.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. I wonder if the kids today have tales like these to tell. It was perhaps a simpler time and one filled with freedom of imagination of all things that were possible. Thank you for taking me back there.

  4. What a resounding tale. This made me wish I’d been born a boy! I was a tom boy during parts of my childhood so I have a tiny sense of what you felt. What fun you had. And the intimacy of brotherhood leaps out of this story full of life. I’m so sorry you never got to see your two “brothers in arms” again. Thank you for sharing your heart through your writing.

  5. Larry, Our childhood memories are special. Thank you for sharing yours. I recall the trips to the lake, the walks in the woods, the times playing board games with my friends and realize that childhood friends are those we always cherish without any reservations. I just got an email from my 3rd-grade and Brownie troop (Girl Scouts).

  6. Growing up and moving on is always hard and looking back can make us sad for happy. Sounds like you had a great time with your friends as a young boy, Larry…..just cherish the memories and you said, life often takes us in different directions and that is beyond our control. Later, I guess we just have to make new memories and new friends to make them with. Sorry about your buddy who was lost in Vietnam.

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