Thursday, December 25, 2008

Past thoughts revisited..."It Will Kill The Grass"

Something I wrote years ago, to tide you over until the holiday is done:

...It Will Kill The Grass...

I was standing by the kiddie pools and supplies at a store last summer, trying to decide what stuff I should buy for the pool (I needed a vacuum of some sort) when I over heard a child ask for a slip and slide. His father, obviously horrified said, "No way will I have one of those things in my yard, it will kill the grass!" The child was clearly bummed out by this response and they wandered on their way.

For some reason, I thought of this today.

I thought, what a shame. Imagine the joy and pleasure that father missed out on, and that child missed out on... all to save some grass in their yard.

I've seen it many times. Not just with slip and slides, but with many things. Often as parents we forget how short and precious childhood is. Our grown up mind forgets how important and special something as simple as a cheap piece of plastic sprayed with a hose can be for a child and how the memories made can last a life time.

When I was younger I had a friend who had the coolest mom I ever met. She was very old compared to the other moms of my friends. She was a country hick with no teeth and a lazy eye. But she knew how to have fun. I remember spending the night at their house and she would come in at midnight, drag us out to the car and we would drive the back roads looking for teenagers making out so we could shine flashlights at them and scare them. She'd tell us scary stories, let us sleep in the barn with newborn baby goats, help us build forts in the woods and drag old furniture out of the dump to decorate the fort with.

One day we were complaining because it was hot, and we wished we had a pool. She disappeared into the garage and came back with two shovels and a roll of black plastic. "Go for it, just dig in the old garden, and don;t forget to shut off the hose when you are done."

We spent hours digging, she came out to help and bring us snacks now and then. By late afternoon we had a muddy hole about 3 feet deep and 7 feet across lined with black plastic and slowly filling with ice cold water. The plastic kept the water in but didn;t keep the dirt out. By the time it was filled in with water it was also full of dirt and what we had was a mud pit.

Did she tell us to keep out of it? Did she tell us to be careful because we were making a mess? Did she tell us that was enough because all the water and tromping around was overflowing into the yard and killing the grass?

No, she jumped into our mud pit and started throwing mud at us until we jumped in and joined her.

We spent days in that mud pit. She would hook the hose to the kitchen sink and run it out through a window and when we wanted to come into the house she would hose us down with luke warm water first. She brought us old pie pans to use to make mud pies. I was about 14 but I had more fun making mud pies at 14 then I'd ever had at 6.

I will never forget the summer of the mud wallow. I swear I was still finding mud in my hair a month later.

Now we are grown, and believe it or not you can not even tell where our mud wallow was. The grass grew back, but we have memories that will last a life time.

My friend’s mother passed away a while ago. I hadn't seen her in years, but when she passed away I was overcome with grief and loss. I wish I had told her how much she meant to me, and how much joy she had brought me. Imagine how much we would have missed out on if she had just told us "No, it will kill the grass."

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