When I was a kid and we went to the park, we went to THE PARK. There was one park in town. Not a park in every neighborhood. And we had real playground equipment.
We had tall metal slides that would burn your bottom in the summer. We had real merry-go-rounds. Remember those? The kind where you could sit in the middle and spin till you wanted to puke. Or you could balance your tummy on the outside bar and let your feet fly through the air.
We just visited the same park last weekend and I am amazed to report that it is (almost) exactly as it was when I was a kid. The folks down in southern Illinois apparently aren’t afraid of people suing them if their kids fall down and skin a knee on the merry-go-round or if someone goes flying off the teeter-totter.
I’m really not in favor of kids getting severely injured at the park. Really, I’m not.
In fact, it always makes me nervous to watch my city slicker kids run from one suburban-outlawed attraction to the next, as they scream with delight, “What’s this thing called, Mommy?!”
But it was fun to step back in time and risk our lives on some good ol’ fashioned playground equipment. Bring back memories?
We forgot to warn them that when one child suddenly jumps off, the other will catch some air, then land hard back on the board before whacking the ground with a hard thud. Ouch. You can see the skinned knees to prove it.
Ahhh… the drainage ditch. I have so many fond memories of straddling this thing as we walked down to the creek. My siblings and I tried to teach our children to do this last spring and they all fell and ended up scraping their knees. This time we gave them better instructions, “Look. We are going to relive our childhood here, and it’s going to be fun. No tripping. And no crying. Now, let’s go!”