I didn't have a typical childhood I guess or at least I didn't think it was at the time. I grew up out in the country with very few neighbors. You couldn't even see the nearest ones and they didn't have any kids my age. So basically it was my parents, my younger sister and me. I am not saying we were off the grid or anything, but it was pretty much just us and at times lonely. I envied the kids in the subdivisions. They were able to get together and play basketball, swim in each others pools, ride bikes around the neighborhood, but not us. I had a good childhood though. I have fond memories of having friends over. They envied me for getting to work in our garden and taking care of the animals. As you can see I didn't hang with the brightest crowd. We primarily would just hang out and play, as my friend Hank Hill would call them, "vidiya" games, watch movies, and if they were feeling adventurous I would take them out into the woods and show them the old graveyard, which by the way scared the daylights out of me. (No one should have an old graveyard in their backyard!)


This isn't it but is nearly identical except the fence is barb wire.

So as I said, I did have friends over pretty regularly, but primarily I spent a lot of time with my family and alone in my room.

I guess you could say that my room was my sanctuary. In '96, we had moved to a bigger house and I finally had my own room! I wish I still had pics of it!Do you know how bad a 13 year old boy hates sharing a room with his younger sister? I finally was able to decorate it the way that I wanted to. It was the Green Bay Packers from top to bottom. I had a Packers lamp which I still own
,

posters,


trash can,


and a "Packers Fans Only" parking sign.


Add onto that list my own TV (rockin' it with a 19' baby!!!), a Sega Genesis, and stereo and I couldn't believe I was so lucky!

My days were probably similar to yours in many ways. I'd come home from school to the usual questions: how was your day, did you learn anything, do you have homework, etc... To which I would respond: Fine, not really, and not tonight. Yep. It was one of those deep conversations that teenagers have with their parents. Fortunately for me, I rarely had homework. This meant that after I had finished supper and was excused from the table (keep in mind this was a strict, traditional southern household.) I was able to do what I wanted to do. On a typical evening I found myself in my room reading, playing video games, and listening to music.

In middle school, I was pretty much hooked on reading you could say. I had grown to love reading after my fourth grade teacher read A Wrinkle in Time to us. At this stage in my life I was absorbed in the world of hobbits, orcs, elves, goblins, and dwarves. Tolken was the man as far as I was concerned. I started with the Hobbit and read through the Lord of the Rings series at least 3 times in middle school.



I made many trips through Rivendel and into the Misty Mountains. I left the Shire following after Frodo and Sam and didn't stop till we had ventured through the dark kingdom of Mordor. I saw the dragon Smaug defeated and Sauron destroyed.



Are we really supposed to be afraid of Smaug?


If you have never read these books, just let me tell you that Middle Earth is a fascinating and sometimes dangerous place.

When I wasn't venturing through Middle Earth on an epic quest, I was shipwrecked on an island with a young boy named Alec Ramsay and his horse the Black. Fortunately he was spotted and brought back to the States where he is able to prove that he has the fastest horse in the world. The book gave me a great appreciation for horses and even sparked an interest in horse racing.



Now I have never been the type that could read or study in total silence so I didn't have a book in my hand unless I had headphones on my ears. Something about the noise blocked everything out and I could focus on the words in front of me. Now not just any CD would do! You couldn't read the Hobbit to just anything! In my opinion nothing went quite so well with reading as Dave Matthew's Band, more specifically their hit album Under the Table and Dreaming.



If you are not a fan of awesomeness, then this album is not for you. Now I will agree with many of you that "What Would You Say" was overplayed on the radio. This ruined the song for many DMB fans including myself. Its only redemptive quality after non stop airplay was John Popper of Blues Traveler fame on the harmonica.


Nothin' like a harmonica playin' fat man!!!

Now with that being said lets keep in mind that the album was more than just a single! We are not dealing with a one hit wonder here. This was one of the top bands of the 90's!


SUPERSTAR!!!!

The CD is full of great songs. My personal favorites were "Rhyme and Reason" which was rather dark and "Ants Marching." I do remember that for the first few months after I bought the CD that I never listened completely to "Satellite." Its not that I didn't like it or that I had heard bad things about it, on the contrary, I had heard it was an excellent song. I thought that my CD was messed up. If you are familiar with the song, you will know that the guitar chords are repeated a few times at the beginning of the song with pauses in between. I thought that the CD was skipping! It wasn't until I heard the song on the radio to realize that I was an idiot and had been missing out on a great song!

There were days that I didn't feel like being intellectual. Reading just wouldn't do! I needed some Sega time... While normally I was playing Sonic 2 or Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition, this was 1997 and I was consumed with NHL '96!



Its odd that you can become absorbed in a game that you have never watched before, a game where you don't know the players or even the rules! However we aren't dealing with rocket science here. We are dealing with hockey which because of this game, I have grown to appreciate and love. The team to pick was the Detroit Red Wings and the goal was to, as much as possible, get the puck to either Sergei Fedorov (#91) or Steve Yzerman (#19).


FYI: Fedorov left Detroit and is now hated by most Red Wing fans!

Both had great speed and handling and under season mode I can guarantee that they won more trophies than any of the other players! A quick tip for an easy goal: If you can get on a break away with the puck, circle behind the goal and as you are coming around and clearing the post, shoot quickly. Not a guaranteed goal every time, but take from a guy with many high scoring games, this is the most difficult shot for the goalie to block.


The key is the break away!

Nothing went better with NHL '96 than Hootie and the Blowfish.

+=

At least in my opinion it didn't. I was listening to Cracked Rear View nonstop back in the day!



It was practically on repeat for hours on end and why shouldn't it have been??? The album is the 15th best selling album OF ALL TIME in the United States! Now everyone liked "Let Her Cry" and "Hold My Hand", but personally I enjoyed "Running from an Angel", "Time", and "Drowning." If you ask me Darius Rucker, the lead singer, has one of the best voices in Rock. Rather than screaming and screeching, he has a nice mellow baritone voice that enables you to actually understand the lyrics. Last I heard I think he is doing pretty good in Country music today.



Eventually Mom would call me back into the living room for "family time." We would eat ice cream, watch sitcoms and normally check out the Letterman Show (didn't have a bedtime!). Family time was great but my room is where I could spend time with my own thoughts and have my own adventures. I am new here so I appreciate any comments. I've been on the site daily for the past 4 years, but finally joined up and I want to help contribute on here as much as possible! I hope you enjoyed the article. I know I enjoyed my memories!