I remember growing up on the west side of Michigan. A little town called Holland, right on the coast of Lake Michigan actually. I can't honestly say I grew up as a happy child; I lived the majority of my younger years not having a clue what it felt like to be loved by parents. How that came to be is for another time but I sure can tell you one thing, I remember what it was like to be free. To be free at heart is what makes youth so precious, and boy was I ever free. Of course, back in the early 1980's in a small town like Holland there was little to worry about. Today the city is like any other where parents don't let their kids out of their sight for fear of a child molester stalking them. Gangs have become a problem just like anywhere else and the state of Michigan in general has been battered by failed liberal economic policies. Regardless, I often find myself longing for that unrestrained freedom that came from a ten speed bike, a walkman and a fishing pole.
During the summer, I would awaken at zero dark thirty and get on my Schwinn ten speed with a tackle box in one hand and a rod and reel in the other. I would ride the few miles to get to my grandfather's barn that was next to the trail that led down to the stream that fed into the lake. Lake Macatawa was actually the Black River and it fed right out into Lake Michigan. At the end of the trail was a little row boat and I would row myself out into Lake Mac and fish all day by myself, and I was only eleven years old. I never caught a thing, but I didn't care. I was free.