Posts Tagged With: play

“A Little Nonsense Now and Then”

Friday Letter to My Kids – August 8, 2014

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” ~ Heraclitus 

Dear J, J, L and L,

Good times, good times. That’s what I mostly remember.

Oh sure, I have my regrets, quite a few, but I choose to keep those filed away in a locked cabinet somewhere to the left and south in my head. There’s not much I can do about the not so stellar moments and coulda, woulda, shouda things. I prefer to recall the fun stuff that made us laugh.

Homemade sidewalk chalk in process.

Homemade sidewalk chalk in process.

Seems like we did more than a few projects.

Remember making homemade sidewalk chalk? More vibrant than the store-bought stuff, those chunks lasted forever no matter how much you colored, drew, scraped, mixed with water and rechalked. Watching your artwork blossom on the cement as your knees and hands and clothes got covered in colored dust made me smile.

Not quite as creative, but still a grand idea, that four by eight foot white board Dad brought home and set up kept you busy for hours. Pretend school, artwork, self portraits, math homework, countless hangman games, it turned out as a smart and fairly inexpensive investment.

Photo by  Chris Barr from the valley, bat (IMAGE_359) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

A basic blanket fort. Photo by Chris Barr

I’ve never seen blanket forts as great as those you all constructed. Seems like I recall a huge one in the living room at the Saint Elena house. Didn’t it have several “rooms” and small hallways? I think you might have even slept in that one. And the nook at the top of the stairs seemed designed specifically for building blanket forts. I still run across a blanket or two now and then with a few holes strategically cut to fit over posts or some other “construction” idea you had as you built your hideaways.

I had a friend growing up whose brother built a tree fort that you guys would have loved. My friend Jori and I spent time up there when we could get away with it. What a perfect way for kids to spend a summer day. I feel all relaxed and young again just thinking about it.

The “sunroom” in the Oklahoma house served a similar purpose. Seems you spent time out there year round despite the fact that it got almost no sun except about an hour in the morning. That screened in room saw every kind of sport imaginable reinvented by you and your friends. The tent even got set up out there to dry off after a couple of rained out camping trips.

That whole house, with it’s strange added on section and odd closets, was a weird crazy hide and seek haven which you made full use of. Now there’s a game you never, ever tired of. Whole boring afternoons could pass in one ginormous hide and seek game. You got pretty good at squeezing into the smallest most unsuspecting spaces and staying incredibly quiet.

Pretty and yummy!

Pretty and yummy!

Rainbow Jello keeps popping into my head. An all day project that I’d never attempt on my own, one of you kept at it every half hour for five or six hours, mixing and adding each layer as the last layer set up. Tasted great and got made several more times after that, a work of love and art all in one.

One of the best birthday parties ever happened at the Saint Elena house. We filled a zillion water balloons and tossed them in the pool. It looked like confetti in there. The nine-year-old party guests had a riot. And just before getting out of the pool for cake and ice cream all the balloons got tossed at targets sidewalk chalked on the cement brick wall.

I’m sure if I thought longer I’d scrounge up more good times. Shoot me an email or a text with other fun stuff you remember. It’d be nice to compile all of them. I don’t want to forget a single memory or happy time we shared.

Thanks for the laughs and giggles. Thanks for sharing your joy with me.

I surely do love you,

Mom

 

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“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” ~ Roald Dahl 

~~~~~

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Your Face

I took a racquet in the face once playing racquetball.

I’m really unclear about who was in the court with me at the time. And I’m even more unclear about who held the racquet that split the skin open above my lip.

It doesn’t matter actually.

Seems like I was going for a great shot and bam. Game over. It was like a wall popped up in front of me mid-swing. It felt way worse than a ball to the face, which I’d experienced often enough since we weren’t stellar players. I don’ remember pain as much as shock and confusion. Seems I wanted to keep playing until the other players pointed out I was bleeding and probably needed stitches.

I was mostly disappointed that we didn’t get to finish our game. And I didn’t get any stitches. The doc superglued the thing closed. It looked gross. For a week I looked like I had a perpetual little kid style runny nose.

I’d have preferred the stitches.

I don’t really notice the scar much. It’s fairly light and thin. Almost invisible, actually.

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We had a group of women that got together about three days a week. We’d play singles if only two showed up, or singles if there were two courts open and four of us. Cut-throat was my favorite for all the changing up that happens. Four of us piled in that tiny enclosed space got fairly rowdy. But we managed to get a good workout and have a bunch of fun no matter how many of us there were.

Yeah, we weren’t amazing players, but we weren’t all that shabby either. At least one of us would be “in the zone” on any given day. Occasionally we’d all hit our stride and balls would zing about for long volleys, amazing shots and incredible saves. Those rare days, when everything was working, made it tough to want to leave after only an hour of play. But if we stayed much longer, we’d be paying for it the rest of the day.

We had to know when to say enough. Sometimes the clock told us. Sometimes our sore muscles let us know we’d reached our limit. And sometimes, we just didn’t care and kept playing far too long and paid for it later. But we sure had us some great times bashing that ball around.

Racquetball lets loose a ton of pent-up aggravation, emotion, and insanity. We left the gym better women, better prepared for whatever the heck the day threw our way.

Sweat never felt or smelled so sweet as on racquetball playing days.

We welcomed any and all who wanted to join in our group. We met some great people that way. I’m afraid I scared off one friend, quite unintentionally. I must have hit her in the head about four times with some really poorly aimed shots. By the fourth hit she was done and never came back again. Not sure she’s ever forgiven me. I swear it was completely and totally just me playing badly. I couldn’t hit the same spot twice even if I was aiming for it. I’m hoping one day she’ll get a chance to ding me with a ball or maybe a few water balloons so she can feel like the score is even and we can move on. Or not.

So why do I bring all this up?

I LOVE playing racquetball!

And yet, my racquet’s acquired a few years of dust. That’s a huge loss.

Why’d I stop?

Schedules change, injuries and age take their toll, life demands new things of us, we have to give something up to make the puzzle pieces all fit.

Sometimes the best things, the most helpful, the happiest, end up being sacrificed for other good and helpful things. Good reasons don’t make it any easier though.

I look in the mirror sometimes and see that thin light scar above my lip. It feels like a participation medal, or better yet, a blue ribbon or a golden winner’s cup.

Maybe it needs to be a reminder of something I need again. No, not a racquet to the face. I need that hour of sweating. I need to hit something with everything I’ve got. I need the energy I get back from pushing myself hard.

Can I work that back into my life?

I have plenty of excuses, most of them having to do with body parts and pain. Maybe it’s time to ignore the shoulder devil and do it anyway.

After all, what could it hurt?

Well, I suppose it could hurt my face again.

But it would be worth it.

Categories: Exercise, Fun, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Summertime

School’s out today for the next couple of months. No more national anthem wafting across the park every morning at 8:45. No more a.m. and p.m. traffic as parents drop off and pick up their littles. No more playground noises, of tether ball chains against poles, kick ball, swings squeaking, girls screeching, boys in mock battles, girls piled up in little cliques like so many fall leaves blown into a pile.

Ah, the summer freedom of children.

Months stretch out before them in a vast sweeping prairie of waving grasses, unexplored trails, toes in cold streams, popsicles dripping, and entire days spent swimming.

Oh wait, that was my childhood. Do kids still do that?

English: Cottonwood Trees in Lions Park

There’s still a sense of freedom, but I get the feeling that it’s only a pale shadow of the freedom I enjoyed.

I took off running by ten every morning to my best friend’s house. From there the two of us would race to the park, with its open grass fields, a swampy tadpole pond, a meandering creek, a cottonwood tree-filled valley, ivy covered hills, rusty barbed wire fence lines. We spent most of the day there roaming, dreaming, romping, hiding, in imaginary wars with other kids who also played there.

Completely unsupervised.

Yes.

Not an adult in sight. Can you imagine it?

It was a different world. An innocent time. A protected, sweet existence.

A small pocket of pure perfection.

Categories: Memory Lane, Nature, Outdoors, The World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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