My parents just had new windows installed in our old house. The original wooden windows had been weathering and wearing since 1968, and the folks decided against scraping and painting them one last time. I saw the new windows this weekend, as I was visiting my old hometown, and as we admired the craftsmanship, we wound up in my old bedroom where a fancy new sliding unit had been installed. It was about a few seconds after I opened the new window that I realized I was falling through it.
I wasn't falling out of the window; I was falling through it, against my will, back to my childhood. The air blowing in the window was from 1973. I don't know why it always smells like it does - maybe it's the bushes that grow right below the window - but it fired up bright memories from long lost decades. And the ancient light coming in the window held visions of late summer nights with friends and early school mornings in the frost. I stood at the open window wondering how I could be sucked through it so easily, back to an era of protests and once-a-week showers; a time of Richard Nixon sulking on my tiny black-and-white Zenith TV; a time when I was 13 and full of energy and emotion and ego and when my closets were full of thin cotton shirts and the stiff new blue jeans that could only mean the start of a fresh school year.
I closed the window and closed off the emotions, and then I looked around to convince myself I was back in 2011. The green-toned wood paneling was long gone. The tiny single bed was gone too. The thin carpet had been ripped out and the bare wood floors were in their prime again. And I was safe. I wasn't going back to 1973, ever again. I'd already struggled through that year and that decade, and the ones that followed, and I didn't need a repeat tour of duty. After a few more minutes of visiting, I said goodbye to my parents, and then my 13-year-old son, and I drove off to our own house and to the windows that he will have to open and close, when it's his turn, when the bushes are at their fragrant peak and the sunlight is shining on a summer's morning dew.
David McCoy, a self-proclaimed Southern-Gentleman and Raconteur-in-Training lives in Covington with his family.