Last night, when scrolling through the myriad of TV channels to find 'something to watch', I came upon one of, what I would call my classic films- 'Stand by Me' - based upon a short story by Stephen King, which highlights the relationship of 4 boys in their pursuit to find the unfortunate body of a dead kid hit by a train.
This movie has always been our family favourite, in the first instance because of its underlying King-like death presence and the possibility of not knowing what was going to happen as a result, but more so the over-riding strength of friendship in a time of troubled youth. This classic theme eventually confirmed it as a family favourite, because--how did one ever find better friends than those you had as a child?
Somehow, we do.
I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder how that happens. I mean, the first best girlfriend I ever had was a young girl who was 3rd born in a family of 4, about my age, and a neighbourhood childhood life mate. She was about 4-5 and I was a year older---we were people who could defend ourselves against the travesties of neighbourhood game squabbles and big brothers! We were strong!
We had so many adventures together--the bad ones because of my curiosity - like the day I tasted freshly dropped tar by the City Council on the street past our house, because it looked like liquid licorice. ( I know--don't ask...my imagination will be the death of me!) In order to get the tar off my teeth, we sat together in her backyard, in the tractor tire rimmed sand pit, and scrubbed at my teeth with her brother's toothbrush, mainly because we thought it might work, but mostly because he was a bully and needed to have his toothbrush treated this way! I don't remember what eventually worked--but those methods--especially sand and tar were pretty awful!
Her Dad had a car which didn't seem to get driven very much, and to my memory looked like a gangster car like in one of those old black and white movies that came on TV. In my memory it was grey and boring, and had great rounded edges with lots of metal space. It needed help--maybe if it looked better--they would drive it more often--so my trusting friend Kimmy and I decided that all of the half used paint tins in the garage were probably put there to eventually make that poor, sad car look much better! I have vague memories of painting sections of the car with large brushes - I had seen my Dad remove paint tin lids with large screw drivers, so I sort of was was the expert here.
Anyway, after working fairly hard to cover the dull gray car with pink, blue and yellow paint, in patterns we thought might help it to feel more accepted and driveable, we were finished. We stood back and surveyed our work, and a dark cloud flew through my brain. 'Maybe this had been a bad idea! Maybe we shouldn't have done this!' But I soon dismissed this thought, put the lids back on the tins of paint, and went on with another adventure with Kimmy.
Later on that day, our artwork was discovered - instead of the praise that I thought would be heaped upon us, we were thoroughly disciplined. I don't remember this part very well--something to do with blocking out unpleasantt memories.
Well, the day came when Kimmy's family decided to move to California! I remember jumping out of bed early that last morning, so that I could run down to their house to say goodbye, but it was empty, and they had already gone. I was devastated, and just sat and cried. Kimmy was my first loss of friendship - there would be others, but at that time even sitting in her sandbox with Randy's toothbrush in my pants pocket didn't make the hurt go away.