My friend Ken Hall once said that the problem with Memphis lay in the multitude of houses with expansive, fenced-in backyards and postage stamp front porches. It’s true, which is why we continue to live in too much old house, nestled in the heart of Central Gardens. Neither we nor our neighbors have enough back yard to call yard, so we enjoy our summer evenings out front, porches linked by yards and street, forming a seamless playground.
We adults take turns yelling “CAR!” to halt play for oncoming traffic and then “SLOW DOWN” to the drivers passing too quickly. The biggest controversy, two years ago, arose when a neighbor tossed a bottle at the car of an habitual speeder. The argument that followed was based on a critical philosophical difference: the driver believed – quite passionately – that we were reckless and irresponsible parents, allowing our children to play in the street instead of corralling them in the safety of a tidy, fenced-in backyard.