My cousins and I spent a lot of time digging.
Digging in the backyard under a tree with low branches just outside the boys’ bedroom window.
It was cooler there in the summertime.
Our mothers would let us use old serving spoons from the kitchen drawer for shovels. With a Tonka dump truck, some sand pails that you’d take to the beach, an orange toy road grader and Andy’s toy crane, we started building cities.
For hours we’d sit in the dirt and dig. We made roads and bridges and once we created a whole little town we called ‘ant city,’ but our favorite thing was digging lakes.
Because after we dug the deepest holes that any kid could imagine, we filled them up with water.
And then we jumped around in them.
Only once when we happened to be jumping around in our kid-made lakes, my foot landed on a rusty nail.
The minute I saw the blood, all bets were off, and I was ready to run in the house for help.
But Andy remembered we weren’t supposed to be out there without our shoes.
And we weren’t supposed to be running the water hose.
So we couldn’t tell.
Now I just knew my foot was going to rot off.
I sat there and tried to get it to stop bleeding while Andy snuck in the house.
Pretty soon he came back with everything you need to prevent gangrene.
We washed my muddy, bloody foot off with the hose and Andy doused it with hydrogen peroxide. Then he rubbed some Neosporin ointment on it and covered it with a Band-aid.
He even blew on the sole of my foot when the medicine burned.
I put my shoes and socks back on and tried not to walk funny when we went back in the house.
And I never told a soul.
I didn’t need to.