Several years ago I wrote a piece about the sounds of Christmas.
Not musical sounds, but the sounds that those of us who are now senior citizens grew up with. The sound of children playing outside on Christmas Day and on the days following Christmas.
You knew that Christmas had come by the noise of children playing on the streets. I don't know when the sounds ceased. It could have been when computers became prevalent or when X-boxes, video games, and computerized toys came along.
When those of us who are 55 or older were young, everyone knew that Christmas Day had arrived. The noise of children shouting and playing in the streets with their new skates and bicycles made for a typical Christmas Day.
In Atlanta, for safety's sake, police and city officials would actually close off certain streets. Cars were not allowed on those particular streets because they were designated "play streets."
Of course kids being kids, we would usually select our own special streets--the ones with hills high enough to zoom down on our bikes and skates. Actually we were pretty fearless and without safety helmets!
If there were gangs in existence in those days, I wasn't aware of it. Most kids were generally kind to one another and anxious to show off new sweaters, coats, and their prowess on their skates and bikes.
Now when Christmas Day arrives, you wouldn't know it if you were looking for children at play or listening for them. They are inside with their computers and video games. They are not outside playing with friends and neighbors.
Of course today there's also the issue of kids being assaulted and harmed. That's a serious and sad concern.
So if you are expecting to hear kids outside this Christmas Day, you will be disappointed.
However the seniors among us who grew up in Atlanta still have our memories. We remember the crowds of kids who gathered to skate down Jones Avenue. We have kept the memory of those wonderful sounds of ourselves and other children at play on Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of those seniors among us who share these special memories!