humanity / Meandering

Meandering Monday about Kicking the Can

There are all sorts of things I remember from my youth (my actual youth – not forty years ago, when I was still an adult – we’re talking about my childhood and early adolescence.)

I remember being chased around by a bull outside our house in Franklin, and exploring haunted houses and barns. Jumping out of haylofts and off of roofs. Climbing trees.

I remember creeping around on the tussocks in the swamp behind our house in Wilmington (We moved in in the winter, and thought it was woods until the spring thaw flooded our basement), picking blue berries in the spring and summer, looking for snakes and frogs. In the winter I’d crawl on the ice through the tunnels made by the snow covering those bushes to get out to skate on the lake by the railroad tracks.

I remember living in Tewksbury, with actual woods that went on for miles behind our house. There was a ten-foot-tall dome of rock there, with a tree growing out of the top that I always thought of as Treebeard (well, at least I thought that after I read Lord of the Rings around 1971 – thank you Dana Krueger.) Winters there I remember trudging through the snow, following snowmobile tracks. And shoveling a hundred-foot long driveway (this was the only thing I was grateful to get away from when we moved to Texas – and then I rushed out to shovel our driveway the first time we got any snow), then building tunnels down the sides, and snow-forts.

I was never one for athletics in my youth. I rarely played any sports outside of the mandatory participation in gym class, and when sides were chosen, I’d be last. Then I’d score a touchdown or catch an uncatchable ball, people would be amazed, and I might get picked next-to-last the next time. I rode my bike a lot (living where I did, friends and places I wanted to get to were far away; I remember hitting a rock while going downhill, being thrown over the handlebars, and chasing my bike the rest of the way downhill after it ran over me, and catching it before it fell over at the bottom.) I loved to run, though, and could go on forever. Not anymore…

One of the things about growing up and older is you spend your early years getting physically better and better at things without even having to work at it. You get used to this progressive improvement in skill and physical ability, but there’s a point where your ability starts to fall-off; for me, I noticed this between being 28 and 29, but we’re all different. A softball game at 28 was invigorating – at 29 it almost killed me. In later years (say when I was 50 or so) we had a picnic and played sand volleyball – as the ball sailed toward me, I leapt into the air like I would have twenty or so years earlier, and it felt the same as it had back then, except I never came close to the ball. My brain remembered how to do things, but my traitorous body refused to cooperate. Or maybe the ball was just having fun with me…

There was a classic Twilight Zone episode called “Kick the Can”, in which an old man in a rest home thinks if he can get the tenants to play a children’s game, they can regain their youth (and of course, he’s right. You should watch it if you haven’t – for that matter, you should watch ALL of the episodes for wonderful stories, great writing, now-iconic actors in expert presentations (who needs color?), and a lot of what influenced how I think about stories.

I wish “kick the can” actually worked – that we could just decide to act the way we did as kids, and there we would be – energetic and carefree. Well, in the real world that’s not likely to happen, but – if we choose to stay young in our minds – well… who knows?

Just saying…


Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.Swordsmaster4

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?

Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:



(there is also a paperback on Amazon at


CatsOfWar_IIa_CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing (including Cats of War II, his latest collection of Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire tales) can be found in many places, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:

• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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