Getting older is a pain, both literally and figuratively. What happened? High school gave way to college, then a career, family and all our adult obligations commandeered our attention. No wonder some of the summer activities we enjoyed most about vacation have become all but nonexistent.
Don’t let adulthood get in the way of rediscovering what made being a kid so magical.
Some had the yellow plastic version, others a shovel, a hill, and a hose. Our front lawn with two simultaneous running hoses served our needs sufficiently. And, of course, 6 stitches from an elevated sprinkler head never even deterred us from continuing on.
There’s nothing safe about careening over 30 feet of rocky river bank before letting go and plunging into the deep part of the river channel. Forget about the rope burns and pieces of nylon cord still embedded in my wrist.
I’m not the only one that took the wheels off of a red wagon to build the world’s best go kart, right? Or, my ingenious brother, who had the necessary skill set as a teen to replace his handlebars with a Willy’s Jeep steering wheel.
Mom’s used to feed us breakfast, kick us out the door, and remind us that dinner would be served when it got dark. The time in between was all ours. This unwritten dinner bell was consistent coast to coast.
Garden hose showers
Enough said. But, let’s not also forget about that unmistakable tinge of metal, hot rubber and grit, that made the taste of water so earthy and pure. Our backyard hose easily accommodated the lips of 10 to 15 balloons to boot.
Road trip seat selection
Who wants a window seat when you can crawl up behind the back seat and lay in the back window with a view of EVERYTHING! Illegal by today’s laws, but perfectly acceptable in our youth.
There were few summer days as a kid that didn’t include a neighborhood game of Kick The Can or a Wiffle Ball tournament with 30 kids and parents broken into a half dozen teams. When was the last time you pulled your neighbors into a battle royale on that scale? Every neighborhood has 3 or 4 dads cool enough to play for a few minutes in their work clothes.
It’s been years since I’ve climbed a tree. Years. Yet, as a kid I spent as much time in the tall pines that bordered our neighborhood as I did on the ground.
Building bike ramps
It starts like this “When I was a kid…”. Today, there are a range of products for building ramps or even the more sophisticated street course obstacles made famous by the X Games and the BMX community. But when I was a kid, we spent hours hauling dirt to the open area at the edge of the field near our house trying to build a jump that would serve our two wheeled crew of thrill seekers. When was the last time you went airborn on two wheels?
Dig in the dirt
Seems like a simple act I know, but every kid is drawn to the dirt. There doesn’t even have to be a reason we just like to dig by nature I suppose. Looking for fossils, creating the ideal Hot Wheel palace, GI Joe in the hot DMZ, digging to China, or looking for buried treasure. We had our reason but along the way our curiosity took a back seat to necessity and our relationship with the land waned.
I would like to believe that I am like most, whose imaginations disappeared as older kids moved onto cars, sports and girls. I bought my daughter a bucket of sidewalk chalk a fews weeks ago at the dollar store, with delusions of grandeur that I had the same lateral movement I once had to be the hopscotch champion of yore. Turns out, calf muscles on a 49 year old aren’t built to handle the rigor of 230 pounds of jump. Or worse yet, the inability to negotiate the bending over and picking up the rock on 7. Well, at least stitches are the same as I once remembered.