Long autumn shadows made me loom large on the freshly mown lawn, and I would stand transfixed, my elongated shadow-self reaching from the sidewalk all the way to the covered swimming pool, my shadow-head bent at an angle upon the corrugated, round metal wall. Lifting my foot, I made note that shadow-self was wearing platforms. The higher I raised my foot, the bigger the shoe became, and soon I could see Elton John with little bird legs, stepping from the sidewalk onto a yellow brick road, via a poster tacked to crumbling concrete. But my yellow brick road was a green lawn, the concrete an invisible wall separating sidewalk from grass.
Dad called to me, broke the spell, and I ran to him and climbed into the back seat of the car. He always smelled so good after he’d gotten home and had a shower. Clean and spicy. Mom opened the passenger door and with the push of a button moved the seat magically forward, giving my little brother the room to wiggle in next to me. Another press and the seat moved back to its former position.
There was a lot of magic in Dad’s car—windows that raised and lowered with a button instead of an old chrome crank like we’d had in our old blue car--the car Dad had given Aunt Jewel when we got the new one; seat belts that recoiled when unclasped; wire in the rear window that warmed to melt ice and clear fog; and a thread-thin antenna encased in the front windshield that brought music into the car, except when we drove beneath highway overpasses or sailed through a city with tall buildings, or when we passed the the Land of Giant Radio Masts that Dad informed us belonged to The Voice of America. The name filled me with awe, and I stared at the tangle of towers intently whenever they grew near, hoping to hear snippets of what America sounded like. Usually, it sounded like static, interspersed with Merle Haggard or George Jones or Ronnie Milsap.