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The Slice: When it comes to fence, memories go deep

Sun., March 30, 2014, midnight

Our tall backyard fence is falling apart and needs to be replaced.

This is not a new situation. But a few weeks ago, high winds blew down a 10-foot section.

So much for putting it off another year.

But in one very specific sense, that fence might go on for years.

The little boy next door, who isn’t a little boy anymore, used to occasionally hit balls over it. If he was anything like millions of kids who had come before him, he occasionally did this while deep in the thrall of a fantasy of sports stardom.

Maybe he could hear the excited announcer. Perhaps he simulated the sound of the thrilled fans roaring with delight.

Nothing wrong with a child being the hero of his own story.

I’d think about that when tossing the ball back.

That boy does not realize it now. But, chances are, he will remember that fence. He will recall watching the arc of the ball as it sailed over the top.

He will remember the way the grass smelled, the colors of the flowers and the sound of his mother calling him inside.

Before long, if all goes according to plan, that fence will be taken down. The worn-out pieces will be stacked up and unceremoniously hauled away.

But I hope pictures of it stored in the neighbor boy’s memory will endure.

Perhaps he’ll be a dad living in Seattle or California and watching his son scamper around the yard. Maybe he’ll flash back to his own childhood in Spokane.

And in his reverie, he’ll glimpse that old brown fence that served as one of the contours of his boyish dreams. Still standing tall and strong, it beckoned. “C’mon, kid. Try to hit one over.”

So, what of the new fence? It’s hard to say.

But maybe another little boy will appear one day with a bat and a ball, and an imagination.

“There’s a long drive … that’s hit deep … it’s going … it’s going …”

Who knows. Maybe next time it will be a little girl.

Today’s Slice question: What Spokane area resident can you impersonate (in a comedic impression sense, not identity theft)?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email True or false: Some of the baseball season recounted in Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” took place in the Pacific Coast League.

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