Where to begin with this one! No not because it's in any way bad. I just find myself awash in a vortex of nostalgia tinged with horror and amusement. A potent combination, but not conducive to coherent commentary!
I'm going to skip my usual headings and just waffle about what comes to mind and bits that stood out.
The opening section is great. Introducing two concepts I immediately adore. Free-range boys, and helicopter parenting. I've always wanted a brother. I grew up with a sister, 18 months younger. I'm not sure if it would have made a difference to my own treasure chest of considerably more conservative stories, but it's there all the same. I had my summers in the woods with the child-minder's boys, and my friends. We played 'manhunt', made small fires, and constructed horrifically perilous tree swings that would have melted the faces of modern H&S officials had they seen. But I was a smart kid in school. Always did my homework. I've never broken a bone. Never been to hospital. Whether through cowardice, or luck I'm not sure but I think it's a healthy dose of both.
So it's only with some wincing that I read through these tales of red smears being measured and gravel-absorption world records. Additionally tainted by the shadow of my thirties, yours sounds like a terrifying childhood.
But all's well that ends well (except for Marty).
==> We were Tyrannosaurs riding across that colossally free, unfettered era before the asteroid of bike helmets.
I love it. This whole piece is festooned with remarks like this. I read Tyrannosaurs and wondered where on earth you were going with this one, and then the ending just blew me away. You take metaphors to new heights throughout, and this was one particular highlight for me.
==>Our bike ramps provided us with one of those many wonders of nature: great height,
Reading it again here on it's own, this sentence is fine, but at the time I tripped over it, such that I found myself rereading it a couple of times trying to get it untwisted in my head. I think in this case it's just a little wordy.
==> smoking under the full strain of leg muscles bulging and gravity boosting
I'm not sure what you mean by gravity boosting.
==> Variously viewed as a victim or villain, a vindicated Vinnie vaulted to the vertex of virtuoso violinists.
Hahahaha, now you're just showing off.
As a fatherly/grandfatherly type tale of youth, sat around a campfire, or reminiscing one sunday afternoon, this piece is awesome. Funny, well told and thought provoking.
If you're looking in the direction of publication though I would say this gets a bit too waffly in places and could be cut quite a lot shorter without losing much of the meat. The foundations section for example.
Thanks for sharing. I'm heading back to my parents house in a couple of weeks, and I think now I'll be making time to head back into those woods.