When I was growing up, there was a farmer who would come through our neighborhood with a truck full of strawberries. He would lean out the window and I can still hear him call out STRAWWWWW….BERR…IES.
That was a long time ago, when doors and windows were open. When kids ran in and out of all the houses in the neighborhood. When you knew when meal time was because you heard your momma ring the bell. And you best show up!
I have been reading in The Washington Post about this Maryland couple who are in trouble because they allow their children to walk home from a neighborhood park alone. When I was 10, maybe 12, I used to ride a city bus into town and go shopping and then ride it home by myself. I used to ride my bike to the grocery or the drug store by myself. I know times are different now but the articles I have been reading show that most times kids are interfered with by someone they know, not total strangers.
Here in Italy, I don’t know what happens in big cities, but in our small towns it is not unusual to see kids walking alone, going here or there. And in Monte, everybody knows the child, probably went to their christening, baptism and every other event in their lives.
When I win the lottery, I think I’ll phone up the parents of the free range children and offer them passage and moving expenses here. They might be able to get refugee status for being ‘abused’ by their government.
Well, that’s a long way from strawberries isn’t it.