In my mind I picture my childhood as a blissful period, an era of contentment, nay glory! Life was full of simple joys: the kitchen table, my family, the stickball games, the handball courts, the streets. I didn’t know it, but I was on the top of my game. It’s been pretty much downhill since then, I must confess. The neighborhood changed; life became a struggle. Since adolescence I have been walking this earth a bit of a troubled soul, something of a pain in the ass. But in my childhood, at least, I was pure of spirit. Content. Surely I idealize, but I feel very fortunate to have had such a good start in life. Thank you Sagamore Street and thank you borough of the Bronx. Our neighborhood was just great. Today, parents have to watch their children like hawks. It’s a dangerous world. Kids grow up with fear. People are accustomed to fear; the media magnifies and exploits our fears. But back then we kids didn’t worry much. We were out on the street playing ball at age five. We walked to school together. No need for escorts. It was safe.

Today, it’ all different. I feel sorry for the kids today.

Here’s a song I remember from childhood: Shortenin’ Bread. I vaguely recall seeing it sung in animated cartoons. It’s a plantation song. It was a hugely popular song, everyone knew it. Maybank and I had some fun with it the other day.