When I was a young child, I got in trouble a lot. And those were just the times I was caught. I’m thinking especially of the few years (about first and second grades) when I lived in the glorious outskirts of Knox County, Tennessee.
We lived in a house on a hill in the middle of the woods and had few neighbors. My brother and I stole money, smoked cigarettes in the chicken coop, rode horses bareback, walked on frozen ponds, and set the woods on fire. Not bad for a couple of kids under the age of seven.
The neighbors across the way were just as wild as we were. Eddie was my age and had his roosters fight each other and showed us how he could steal his cousins’ keys and start his car in the gravel driveway. These were adventurous, scary, chaotic years.
But there was a calming presence in my life back then that not only made an impression on my young mind, but also has stuck with me ever since. Our only other neighbors were an elderly couple who lived at the end of the winding gravel road.