In summer 1960, just as change was about to sweep the South, I spent a couple of weeks following Mike Sneed, a ten-year-old boy from Maxton, a small town halfway between Charlotte and Wilmington on Highway 74, on his daily summertime adventures. It seemed to me that Mike had the best boyhood ever–it was summertime before the electronic age; it was actual, not virtual.
Mike seemed to be able to defy the laws of gravity whether jumping from an old sawdust pile or from a dock in the Lumber River. All-boy, completely rambunctious, proudly wearing dirt under his fingernails like a badge of honor, he probably wouldn’t have liked it that I could see beyond his leaps of abandonment and note the grace of a ballet dancer. It was all so simple yet alive with the art of enjoying life.
I was later told that Mike grew up and went to Vietnam and came back with a bride. I wondered if his son would have freckles and the same, real fun in summertime.
Boys Jumping Off Sawdust Pile
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