Childhood Memories Recalled

By Judy Wade

As I looked out my kitchen window recently, I was surprised to see a roadrunner scurrying across the arena. That sight took me back to my childhood and some of the creatures kids my age amused ourselves with. We were country kids living in southern Oklahoma. We did not spend hours in front of the television (even if we had one). Cell phones, iPads, video games and internet did not exist, and we played outside and entertained ourselves.

Some of the critters in addition to the roadrunner that fascinated us were doodlebugs, lightning bugs and horny toads.


Spotting a roadrunner was a rare event. There was no way you could run fast enough to catch him, and he seldom had to resort to flying to elude you. He just kept running! In fact, a roadrunner can run up to 20 miles an hour. He is a sight to see with his brown, white and black plumage, white belly, brown crest and long tail. Had we been able to get close enough, we could have seen his four toes, two pointing backward and two forward, and short orange, blue and white colored feathers flaring behind his eyes.

The roadrunner feeds on insects, spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, mice, lizards and small snakes. Actually named chaparral, he was nicknamed roadrunner because he was most frequently seen running across a road. Although he is the state bird of New Mexico, he can be seen in Oklahoma and Texas.

Read more in the July issue of OKFR.