We survived the Boulevard ride: Part I

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 12, 2016

There are many who know of a Picayune far beyond my time, yet there is a Picayune that I know well, and perhaps, it is one the next generation will never see, except only in glimpses through the stories that we tell.
As I drive down Goodyear Boulevard, I think about how fast the seasons of life keep passing by so fast, it almost feels like an old record player with speeds changing from 33 rpm in childhood, to 45 rpm in boyhood, and now, to 78 rpm in manhood. Time is dashing by so fast now it seems like by the time Christmas has passed, it’s time to get ready for Christmas again. Sometimes it makes me wonder when God will call on me to take that last beautiful “Boulevard ride” home to glory land.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, my favorite Bible verse, it says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die.”
Though there certainly will be a time for me to move on from this earth, today I thank God for the life He has given me and for the family and friends He has so carefully placed on my path.
Sometimes, don’t you wish you could wind back the clock of life and do it all again?
Perhaps it is best said by Allan Jackson, my favorite country music singer, when he sings, “Maybe not to be younger, but a little smarter… time takes you places you never knew you would be going.” Now that’s something I believe is true for all of us.
So many wonderful memories come flooding in and I yearn for the old days… the good ole’ days. Those of you who grew up back then will remember the things I’m about to write —just know that you have lived in an era set apart from the rest… a special piece of time locked away in our memories and kept alive through our laughter, tears, and confessions as we reminisce, searching for little ways to pass down those experiences to future generations.
Do you remember when time moved a whole lot slower? We were kids running barefoot through the sprinkler instead of across the splash pads like they have today.
Or did you take a swig of water from the garden hose, instead of a bottle of water?
Do you remember riding Goodyear Boulevard beneath a canopy of majestic oak trees or sitting on the hood of your car during your teenage years, hanging out at the Boulevard Inn, our local two-room hamburger joint?
Goodyear Boulevard was like American Graffiti in the Deep South.
Do you remember leaving Goodyear Boulevard and traveling to those secret places where more intimate conversations could take place?
Can you hear Daddy yelling, “Let’s go thump a melon, boy!” and can’t you still feel the sweet melon juices running all down your mouth?
Do you remember going to the old country general store and paying a nickel for a Coke? The store was a sweet paradise of penny candy treats, which were displayed in a glass case just waiting for us to talk our parents into purchasing.
What about Spin the Bottle? Do you remember the anticipation? Then, if the bottle landed on you, stepping in the closet to claim that first kiss!? (I mean the one with your mouth closed!)
And what about those endless summer nights with no air conditioner and windows wide open?
Are you back there yet? I am.
Can’t you still hear the church bells ring and do you remember singing all those old hymns?
Oh yea! Do you remember the best gossip in those days came straight from “Ma Bell” and the party line? Did you ever slip the phone off the hook and listen in on all the gossip of the community?
See part two of this column next week in the Item.

By Jim Luke, city manager for the city of Picayune

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