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CJ Heck

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The Soapbox Derby
By CJ Heck   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Posted: Wednesday, June 01, 2011

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... being a kid again.

Our three-story duplex commands a spectacular view of town from where it's been for half a century on top of a steep hill, the very apex of West Long Avenue, known as "Pollock Hill" by the townies. As a matter of fact, from our upstairs bathroom window, you can see the colorful rainbow of soapbox derby cars parked in between the freshly painted lines up the street along the curb. The Derby is only a couple of weeks away, since today is the first of June -- I can hardly wait.

I remember excitedly watching the soapbox derby as a child growing up in Coshocton, Ohio. I was such a tomboy during those years, and always more comfortable up in a tree building a tree house, or with a hammer and nails helping daddy with one of his projects, than playing dolls with my sisters and friends. I was usually barefoot with bandaids covering my stubbed toes and skinned knees, and dirty from digging for pirate treasure. I was never what you would probably call a girly-girl.

I would have given my left leg to have been allowed by the derby folks to build a soapbox car and then race it. In those days, only boys were allowed in the derby. But I sure do remember being there and watching it, cheering the drivers on and imagining. Sitting there in the grass, I could almost feel the wind against my cheeks as I headed downhill at full-speed towards the black and white checkered finish line.

When I moved to this house a few years ago, it was the first time I was able to watch a soapbox derby as an adult. Imagine my excitement when I awoke to the clamor of voices coming through my window and the motors of pick-up trucks as they hauled the race cars up to the top of our hill to park them until their designated race. When I looked out my window, I was amazed and so excited to find out it was race day.

As I dressed to go outside and watch, I was suddenly that little tomboy again, filled with the sweet joy, the awe and wonder of the soapbox derby. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the number of girls wearing derby numbers on their shirts. At last! How exciting it was for me to cheer them on, because now girls did get to feel the wind on their cheeks as they raced downhill full-speed toward the finish line ...

I'm already getting excited about this year's Derby. In only a couple of weeks, I'll wake up, get dressed, and walk right out my front door and for a few priceless minutes, I'll be a kid again ...

Web Site: Barking Spiders Poetry for Children


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Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 6/1/2011
What a neat story. How nice to live in a place where you can see such a -- even though it is a once a year -- wonderful event, especially with girls partaking. Must have done that old tomboy heart of yours a world of good.
Mark



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