One of the best quality of life indicators in a community is the existence of, and the investment in, the local park.
As long as it has a metal slide and a merry-go-round.
Anyone considering a move to a community should make their first visit the park. That’s where, after all, neighbors gather, friendships begin, laughter and family get-togethers and baseball games are had. It’s where memories are made.
All significantly enhanced by the automatic smile that accompanies seeing there a metal slide and a merry-go-round.
It’s a “Golden Rule of Time,” said Danny Hillis, to “do for the future what you’re grateful the past did for you.”
Who is not thankful today for the memories of growing up in a park that had a metal slide and a merry-go-round?
It is a truthful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that if you want your kids to be tough and successfully survive growing up in a tough town, then you need metal slides and merry-go-rounds.
Parent-issued gunny sacks to go faster and dirt-hollowed tracks worn ever deeper are sure signs of air-splitting laughter now and success in the corporate world later.
Skinned knees, an occasional broken bone (collarbone in my case as a kindergartner), and tear-streaked dirt faces as a child minimize bruised egos as an adult.
Parents after all aren’t always there to catch you when the slide ends.
This last summer there was a fairly straight-forward, easily-grasped-concept for what was obviously a beginner slide on display at a local store. There was, to my mind however, an immediately discernable problem. Hopefully the slide leaning there in the loading dock ready for being trucked to some child’s backyard came with assembly instructions for even the most astute adult, not to mention hardware with which to tinker, as the slide’s current trajectory was most clearly problematic. It was vertical, as in straight down. No slope. Perhaps it was for ease of transport that the ladder and slide appeared sandwiched way too close together, nevertheless for the unsuspecting it was, as presently constituted, good for one ride, no more.
Besides it was plastic.
Do you know that no amount of shooting down a plastic slide will so shine the surface so as to reflect a child’s smile?
But a metal one would.
And the gunny sacks mom gave us weren’t for thermal burns, but rather for speed. The winner (we were all so competitive) would be the child who was longest airborne once the metal left off and empty space began. Distance divided by time aloft or something like that.
If you’ve two a-bit-older-brothers like our grandson pictured here whose family enjoys a dozen city parks in just ten minutes’ walk from where they live on the other side of the world (that still has those wonderful metal slides), then whatever possesses the big bro’s to skip the steps and climb the ‘wrong side of the slide’ well, then, that possesses you too.
And if one who’s already king of the hill – or in this case, slide – in having reached the summit by this unauthorized and unapproved method, sees you starting the climb, why then meet him half way.
Because they’re boys. And boys whose parents find parks with metal slides and where the merry goes round will become leaders.
It’s just how it works.