A football and I played in the side yard of the little green house. A corner lot, a fenced back and side yard. The side yard was extraordinarily narrow, we were pinned upon an open ditch next to the main road that bordered our evil desperate village. I believe it was the day after my birthday, my 8th, and likely the 2nd time anyone ever noticed or set aside a moment for such an event. A brand new football was now mine, and that felt wonderful. I threw the ball straight up, standing there on the narrow short patch of side lawn. A brilliant underhand spiral high into the air, straight up and straight down for myself to receive, perhaps one of my finest skills. Each perfect vertical spiral received then by me, over and over again. With some momentary games of play calling and pretend quarterbacking, team leading, huddled play calling, no one there.
A boy a few years older than I walked by (every boy was a few years older than I), on the other side of that low chain linked fence. He made the universal ‘toss me the ball’ gesture, and ran swiftly by for a pass, without hesitation I spiraled that ball perfectly into the outstretched arms of his running body, a perfect reception, and he kept going. Never to return. Nor did that ball.