Mike’s Corner: The Suburbs

By Mike Wagoner
Reader Contributor

I grew up in a classic American farm town surrounded by fields with neighborhoods lined with old trees and imperfect sidewalks.

One of my childhood memories that I still harbor are of the crisp fall days spent pheasant hunting with my dad. The sound of his voice in the morning, cascading down those basement steps and into my room to wake me, is a sound I miss and will always remember. The tone of his call would unleash within my mind stirrings, yearnings and promises of adventure.

After a “manly” breakfast we would load our shotguns, lunch and the family dog into our old pickup that usually sat idle during the week and head out for those fertile fields of promise.

As we steadily moved along, the older parts of town would suddenly give way to new sections. Houses were slightly different from one another, yet somehow all seemed the same. This is when the silence would be broken and my father, who was raised locally on a small farm, would begin making comments.

“That hillside over there used to be good,” he said. “That flat along the river used to be great for ducks.”

It was at these times I found myself trying to picture what it must have been like before all the new houses sprang up and chased the wonder away. I remember wishing that somehow I could go back in time through some kind of misty corridor of trees and be a childhood friend of my dad, running free through that golden countryside that now only existed in his mind.

Mike Wagoner has a dual personality. By day he is a science teacher and by night a singer-songwriter. He has recently moved to the area from Nashville, where he taught school and did studio work on the side.

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