When Steve, the eldest, turned six and was ready for first grade, he walked to school by himself. He and Michael went to Wheeler’s market down the way, and they crossed the street to the neighborhood park and to the house of the neighbors behind us when we lived on Stanford. They traded toys with Julio, and once made such a bad deal, I made them go back and “untrade.”
There were many hours through the day when I didn’t exactly know where my children were. They didn’t have cell phones, nor did they wear tracking devices.
They were playing.
Playing? What’s playing?
…so this week, because I remember play, and because I think children deserve some time without adults hanging over their every move, and because I refuse to be bound by overwhelming worry of every imaginable sort, including that of child molesters, a twisted ankle on a mountain trail or the remote possibility of a bear attack, I told our older three they could go into the woods by themselves.
They were ecstatic, then Chloe came and asked, “Can we take a little picnic, Granny?”
“How are you going to carry your lunch,” I asked.
“Oh, we’re taking the wagon,” and they prowled through our numerous storage areas until they found the red cart with wooden side rails that has hung around here for years. A beat up wagon which has transported more than one Buxton baby over the forest trails in Crestline.
I saw Aunt Becky whispering something to Brady as the big three took off on their adventure, and then he said to me, “We’re going to Oaktrunk, Granny.”
Oaktrunk is a store which sets next door to the post office in “downtown” Crestline, and it is one of the favorite places of the grandkids. It’s like a dime store (if anybody knows what that is) and it sells greeting cards, gift items, candy, ice cream, household products, fabric on the bolts…and junky, overpriced, shoddily constructed toys which have usually fallen apart by the time the parents are here to pick up their babies. There hasn’t been a “grandkids week” yet when we didn’t go to Oaktrunk.
Grandkids week here at our house should be called “Grandkids week and Aunt Becky,” because she nearly always comes up and helps me, and they all adore her, and I don’t know what I would so without her…
…so, it was off to Oaktrunk with Brady and Cole.
…and they came back with the usual assortment including a rifle that Brady chose to hunt with, and whose ammunition is a cork tied to a string. Seems to me its style drastically limits its big game usefulness, but for hours he aimed and shot, but I don’t believe he bagged anything.
While all the youngsters were gone, I whipped up a batch of cupcakes, and when they were ready to eat one, we served it on a large paper plate, and handed around bottles of sprinkles so they could decorate their own. Cole couldn’t finish his, wanted to save it for later, so with the big pencil he had bought at Oaktrunk he wrote his name on his plate.