Do you remember when you were a kid? Life was simple. Make your parents happy and your world was happy. But was it?
When You Were a Kid
The Neighborhood Kids
We lived in the midst of a 10-acre orange grove, sited on a lake. There were no nearby neighbors, no neighborhood kids, except one year when a family rented a nearby Florida cracker house, nestled between grapefruit trees, native oaks and the lakeshore. By chance, we heard the laughter of children playing on the clay road leading straight to the answer to our loneliness. Of course, before we could even meet them, Mom had to visit their mother.
Permission to play was granted and after a tentative shyness, we were soon scrambling up trees, playing on the natural trampoline of a tangled mess of flame vine, and swimming in the lake.
My sister and I were expert tree climbers, scrambling up a giant grapefruit tree together most of the time. With our new neighbors, we joined them to climb a humongous live oak tree close to their home. Although the bark was rough, we attacked it like a gang of pirates, intent on claiming a treasure chest. We weren’t afraid of strangers, or snakes, or anything else then.
The joy of having neighborhood kids to play with was short lived. Within a few months, they moved on. Life was back to playing.. and fighting with my sister.
Although my older sister, was someone I looked up to, yet I still preferred the natural world. One of my favorite actives was watching a giant velvet ant walk across the Florida sand. Isn’t she beautiful? Dad taught me to be careful. Her stinger was a real danger. Conversely, my sister followed other pursuits, like reading. A lot.
Playtime for Two Again
Television was in the toddler stage and we were allowed one program in the afternoon after school, Howdy Doody. Is “It’s Howdy Doody Time” playing in your head? Puppets didn’t appeal to me, yet I loved Howdy Doody. Perhaps because it was the only choice. Limits. There’s something to be said for simplicity.
So what else did we do? We played silly active games like ‘Hide and Seek’. We ran. If it rained, we played board games. Monopoly taught us about strategy, high finance, and sibling hierarchy where my sister always got the race car.
We’re Not Kids Anymore
Let’s Find Ways to Play
How did you play when you were a kid? I had a lot of alone time, so it’s easy to slip into childhood pursuits like exploring the yard, looking for caterpillars. Perhaps you enjoy visiting a public park.
Fun with Grandkids
Playing with grandchildren is another way to engage in play. Furthermore, you open them up to other types of play even their parents don’t know about.
The most precious gift we can give is time. My grandchildren are far away. Since I can’t share simple playtime, I write to them. By hand. Of course, I’ve learned that cursive handwriting is considered archaic. As a result, I practice my handwriting in a printed style, sharing glimpses into my life.
Other Ways to Play
Gone fishing. When you were a kid, the fish were plentiful, easy to catch. Yet, wasn’t it fun to learn how to cast? I remember testing myself. “Can I get close to that half-submerged log? There’s a bass lurking down there.” That was fun. It didn’t matter whether there was a fish on the line. It was just fun.
Remembering Leads to Doing
I invite you to find one way to play this week. Just one. Let us know what you’re going to do for fun in the comments or contact me.
To answer my original question, “Yes! Life was and remains fun.”
Now I think I’ll go find some bugs…