When we last went back to Missouri to see my folks, my brother Aaron and I made a little bit of an archaeological side trip. There’s an odd outcropping of rocks in the middle of one of the fields on the farm. Actually, it’s more of an outcropping of rock. I would guess it’s about 30 feet by 30 feet, but it’s more roundish than square.
Surrounding the rock are a dozen or so trees. So it looks like a little oasis in the middle of the field. I always called it, “The Secret Zone” when I was growing up. Well, I still call it that today, but I’m a little more self conscious about it now. I don’t know if that’s the name I gave it, or if it’s the name that someone else told me. In my mind, I always associate it with The Phantom, but I’m not at all sure about that.
When I was a kid and I would play at the Secret Zone, there were a series of white tracks that ran over the rock. Straight sections, curves, ramps were all –at least to little Lloyd– readily visible. And, more importantly, just the right size to run Matchbox™ cars over. It wasn’t a complete roadway. There were many sections that were missing or washed out or under construction.
Once I was talking to my dad about them and he said, “I know about them. I made them.” Back when he was little Lloyd, he had (found, come across, absconded with –it was never quite clear) a quantity of plaster and built a network of roads to drive his cars on. 25ish years later they were still around. A little worse for wear, but still around. I imagine the biggest factor in their deterioration was cows walking on them. They were clearly engineered for less weight.
Fast forward 35ish more years… Anyway, Aaron and I set out for the Secret Zone with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction. We found a lot of leaves and dead trees, but we set about cleaning the area where I vaguely remembered the track to be. Then we set about cleaning a wider area (it was a long time ago).
There wasn’t much left. We found traces here and there, but there were no long sections left. We might have removed some of the evidence with our somewhat vigorous raking. But it brought back fond memories just the same, and it was nice to visit with Aaron while we were tidying up the place.