When I was five and my friend Sandra Snelling was 6 we went in search of the City of Silver and Gold. It was a mystical quest not unlike that undertaken by the Knights Templar, except that it took place in Long Beach, California instead of the Middle East. We two trudged down narrow city streets lined by small bungalows and palm trees, turning this way and that, roaming ever farther afield, assured and determined as only the young can be. We trusted our vision. We believed. We walked. And walked. And the fact that we never actually arrived at the magical destination, most likely had something to do with the eventual police and parental concern.
I have been a seeker ever since.
When I was eight, our neighborhood gang had a “hideout” in the vacant lot where we concocted potions and spied on the kids from the adjacent block. We ran free on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean, criss-crossing the trails, hopping the backyard fences amidst the pop of our cap guns. Later we banded together for neighborhood performances – part musical review, part cowboy drama (written and directed by me) hastily assembled and enthusiastically performed for parents and neighbors and local vendors.
Later in life, for a time, I became a theatre major.
The Hill Kids (Sandy, Gary and B.J.) offered, however, the finest venue of all. Their backyard adjoined my own and their grandparents owned and lived behind and above the local fancy fur store, just around the corner. It was there, amongst the pelts in the back workshop, that the tale of Tarzan and Jane truly came alive. And after one Saturday Matinee at the movies, having thrilled to the splendors of Lost Horizon, the underground cold storage fur vault and the high stairway to the upper deck became the Shangri-La of our dreams.
I will never forget.
Last week we spent a day at Debbie and Rick’s farm in North Dakota along with a contingent of cousins, their children and grandchildren. Not to forget Aunt Lil – known as “Big Grandma” by some of the gather-ees. I love spending time with my family. It’s always wild and wooly and never dull. But it was the youngest contingent that best captured that day and proved beyond a doubt the truth of the saying – “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
THIS IS WHAT BIG KIDS DO FOR FUN ON THE FARM –
WHEN THEY’RE NOT IN THE NORWEGIAN HOT TUB
BUT ALEX, KALLON, NOLAN AND ASPEN HAVE THEIR OWN PLANS –
AND THEY’RE OFF ———–
UNTIL KALLON SPIES TROUBLE IN THE WOODS!
THIS CALLS FOR – Bonnie and Clyde?
PERHAPS A HORSE?
BUT DEFINITELY AN ATTITUDE!
BUT TENSIONS RISE – – – –
UNTIL THE POSSE GETS ON BOARD –
AND JUST WHEN THEY THINK THEY’VE DITCHED ASPEN –
IT’S – GIRLS ROCK AND RESCUE!
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Funny! How different times are from you and I were children. Nowadays hot tubs and motorized wheels for the kids! Our grandparents would be absolutely blown away, you realize. But then, there are games they played that we will never know.