#74 "An Exhilarating Family Activity"
Other than their love, food, a roof over our head and a good high school education, the greatest thing my parents ever gave us was a backyard. Yup, a backyard. Not everyone in the world
has one of those. I'm not talking a well-manicured space with flowers, shrubs, and chem-grass, but rather a well-worn and beat-up playground. We used that backyard for epic games of wiffleball, kickball,
tag, and hide 'n seek. One year they took down a sick willow tree and tarred a section of the yard and put up a basketball hoop. It became the spot for neighborhood basketball games.
I used to love when my dad took the time to play wiffleball or basketball with us. He never acted like The Great Santini, but he didn't let us win either. That made it fun. When my mom
played basketball, it was always surprising how good she was (wiffleball...no). She must have spent time playing on the playgrounds of Central Falls, RI growing up.
When I was in high school we moved to another house with a small backyard, and no hoop. By then, I was interested in Yes, playing guitar, girls, and partying. I don't think
I spent more than a total of two hours in that yard during those years. The family seemed to become more individualized and less connected. We didn't play together anymore. It didn't
feel wrong that it evolved that way, it's just the way life unfolded.
We never walked on our fingers together in those early years, but we did stuff in that backyard, and none of it was ever for the sole purpose of exercise. Most
people didn't think that way back then. We played together for fun. The idea of doing something for exercise would have
been the most boring paradigm to live our lives by. Even today, I don't do things for exercise purposes. If I go for a walk with my wife, it's to be with her.
If I go for a run, it's to train for the next race I want to do (racing is fun for me).
All that time spent playing in that backyard with my family has never left me. I still live my life that way, which is
probably why I still don't feel like an adult. Of course, I feel wiser and more experienced when I compare myself to kids,
but I've never felt that I've made "the change", after which life was supposed to get very serious. I've had challenges that have
taken all the inner strength I could muster to work through, but I did when I was a kid, too. There's no reason I can think
of to ever lose my sense of humor, play, and fun.
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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle