Hopscotch has been around a few hundred years, and hopscotch on driveways used to be a girls game in our neighborhood when we were growing up. The game takes balance, co-ordination, and planning, doesn’t cost anything to play, and has variations of how you can play a game. You Tube has videos of kids explaining how to play the game, with demonstrations, and, now, it looks like it could be fun for anyone.
This chalked out game board on the next door neighbors driveway won’t last long in the sun, and a light rain will wash the lines, colors, snails, and hearts away. Still, chalk isn’t expensive, and the little drawings on the driveway are priceless reminders of how short childhoods are in our super charged modern world where kids grow up way to fast ahead of their bodies and minds, and get caught in adult nets quicker than you can jump from one square to the next on this driveway.
The neighbor’s grand kids were playing yesterday afternoon, visiting with their grandparents who were ” social distancing ” in the garage.tossing their markers into one of the squares in front of them, then hop, skip and jumping to the end of the game board, jumping and turning at the same time, then going back to the beginning,stopping and picking up their marker, then jumping safely home.
I have watched some videos and plan to try the game when no one is looking.
Getting a seventy plus year old body to do a game made for kids is never a pretty sight.
Each day there are people and things to be colored.
Rainbows fade if they are not brightened up.
Flowers lose their delicacy in the hot desert sun and always need a make over.
Oceans take a slew of work to keep the best blue.
Dino, created by Charlie for a grand daughter, carries his own set of primary colors wherever he goes, ready to step into artistic action.
Dino is taking a road trip soon and will find himself in a child’s bedroom on the other side of the country.
Late at night, he and his soon to be best friend, will hide under warm covers and color the world the way it should look all the time.
Dinosaurs don’t have to be the bad guys.
They can be our best friend too.
Art, in many localities, is given a budget by city hall. Artists are then commissioned to produce public art for public consumption. Public art springs up in parks, in downtown open spaces near city halls, by busy streets and intersections. The art is most often not controversial, but can sometimes raise eyebrows.
This modest sculpture, of kids climbing a rock feature, is close to shops by the business side of the Fountain Hills park. Over six foot high, the installation has been positioned in a flower bed,close enough to be noticed, but not so close that it can be tripped over.
The little boys in this sculpture are climbing a rock feature..The little girl cradles her baby sister below them and admires a flower, not paying the boys much mind.
Boys and girls, for those who would wish otherwise, were never made the same.
We all love to climb, but we don’t all have to climb the same mountains.
Do women really want their men riding in the back seat?
Is caring for your little sister less important than climbing a rock?
Without looking deeper, and making a mountain out of a molehill, this sculpture fits the kid’s I’ve seen.
Boys climb and girls watch their baby sister’s, and, when they grow up, men do watch the kids and women put do on a business suit and go to the office.
They will never, however, be the same.
This place is made for kids.
There are no sharp edges, nothing to scrape or cut, no nails, splinters, burrs or broken glass. The brightly colored posts can be walked around but are not easily climbed, colors are primary, and water falls from the triangular sails like a cool rain. The shapes here are organic and you can hide behind,or touch to your heart’s content.
Children’s voices are amplified and they are involved in their play, walking and running, under, and through the water. Their voices make a soothing melody. Besides the sails that give shade,there is a green sea serpent in the middle of this installation and a maroon lighthouse that gives the park its nautical theme.
The kids are happy this morning, inquisitive, co-operative, playful.
Temperatures will rise into the nineties with no rain forecast for the next several weeks, and, if I’m a kid, I can’t think of a better place to be while my adults are acting like bigger kids somewhere else.
The old and new world co-exist, sometimes shake hands, but more often ignore one another.
These kids are fundraising for a trip to Phoenix, Arizona for an International Hip-Hop Competition.
These seniors,sitting on green crates in the park,close to them, are seeing their peace and quiet taken over by the new world crashing in like rapping waves,
The Indians that saw Columbus might have felt the same way this old generation might be feeling right now.
In this world, there is room for everybody, but we need plenty of benches with some space between them.
The boy walking the sidewalk in front of me is tossing a banana into the air and catching it as he walks. It could be a baseball, a football. a soccer ball, a stone or a pencil. Boys toss things into the air, catch them, and feel good with the world as it is.
Along the way, he stops at a slightly leaking hose that has been repaired before with wire that has become rusted and no longer solves the problem. He kneels down and inspects the water problem, holds the banana alongside the hose as if it would make a splint. Boys like to fix things.
I pass and continue down the sidewalk on my way to the Colonial Zone.
A leaky hose is a problem we can solve in a world leaking problems.
For now, throwing and catching is mostly what is on this boy’s mind
Girls will change his equations, in a few years, and his chalkboard will look like Einstein had a hallucination.
Throwing and catching brings back some of my happiest times.
The map on one of the Starbuck’s walls shows several continents.
When you spread the world out, pin it to a wall, you take out all its bumps, contours, unknowns, inconsistencies.
When Columbus laid out his world map on the sturdy table in his Captain’s quarters his map didn’t show him his crew’s fears, terrible ocean squalls and rolling waves taller than the three little ships in his expedition, stacked one atop the other..
When John Glenn walked on the moon, the maps in NASA headquarters didn’t tell the consistency of the sand that he hit his golf ball off of.
This world map focuses on longitudes and latitudes best suited for growing coffee, just one of Starbuck’s many products.
Our world has knitted together so tightly that we can enjoy foods from far away, foods that Kings used to have difficulty procuring. Now we don’t have to travel to a coffee zone to enjoy fresh coffee.
This little girl is talking to her mother on her Apple wrist phone. The only person on the planet using wrist communication devices when I was her age was the newspaper comic strip hero – Dick Tracy. Kids have come a long way since the 50’s.
What new technologies will come true in this little girl’s lifetime?
This morning I’m reflective.
It is good to have children in our world but they have to grow up quicker than we did.
Stan has had back yard chickens for a few years.
They weren’t something he wanted as a childhood dream, but his adopted kids wanted chickens so he built them a first rate coop, feeds them, keeps their cage clean, and can’t kill them because his daughter would cry.
” Do they lay eggs in the winter, ” I ask?
” They slow down, ” Stan says, ” they lay eggs four or five years. ”
” Then what? ”
Stan takes a moment and judiciously answers, ” Leave the coop and the gate to the back yard open and hope they take a trip and forget how to get home. ”
Chickens are eaten all over the world, but looking at them makes me uneasy.
Why do I want to eat an animal that lives in a cage and pecks in the dirt for its food?
What does Stan do with the cage when his kids grow up and leave home?
The coop is too small for Mother-In-Law quarters and it doesn’t come with a big screen TV.
In Charlie’s front entry, his project materials are carefully spread on the floor.
There are drills and hammers, paint brushes, screwdrivers, scissors and a set of instructions, if needed.
In Charlie’s newest project, the rocking horse rockers are made first with each part drawn on good wood, cut, sanded,primed and painted. The next step is attaching the separately made body and legs of the horse, to the rockers, with glue and thick screws. The last steps are doing details; a bridle, a saddle with stirrups, a mane, eyes, a mouth and tail with accessories from his wife Sharon’s sewing room.
The rocking horse, when time to visit arrives, will be loaded in the back of their SUV and delivered in person to Memphis, Tennessee.
At night, Meghan will talk to her horse softly, and, when things are tough, will wrap her little arms around the horse’s broad head and give it a kiss.
There is always more to a rocking horse than a set of instructions, screws and nails, and paint.
Charlie takes everything into consideration.