Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Merrily We Roll Along

We had a picnic with some friends at Larkey Park this weekend. Larkey Park is where my parents used to take us swimming, back when we lived in grey and drizzly San Francisco, in order that we might experience something resembling a summertime. When Heather Farm opened, with its Olympic-sized pool and well-appointed clubhouse, we starting going there instead, and I have many happy memories from that time: learning to brave the deep end, jumping off the high dive, and lounging on an oversized beach towel, happily munching neon-colored bricks of pink popcorn. My recollections of swimming at Larkey are far more faded, but I do have one clear image of my favorite activity there: stretching my whole body out on the soft grass, with my arms above my head, and rolling like a snowball to the bottom of the hill.

Sunday I was reluctant to go to the park due to the sweltering temperatures, but we all ended up having a wonderful time. As soon as we arrived, Bug spotted some other 4-year olds and ran right over to them. I held my breath as I always do, hoping that this will be okay, that they won't run away or make fun of him. So far that hasn't happened - or at least I don't think so. There was one time recently, we were having lunch at McDonalds and the kids were playing in the play area there, an interconnected structure of tubes and slides. There were a couple of girls about Bug's age, and every time he appeared at the end of the slide they would shriek "Here he comes!!" and run off. Hearing that, my heart seized up for a moment. Bug didn't seem to notice or care - he was having a grand time laughing and chasing after them - but it would break my heart to to see him as a target of cruelty, so I chose to believe it was an innocent game of "run away from the boys."

In this case I needn't have worried - within seconds Bug and his new friends were giggling madly as they buried each other's feet in the sand. Bee was equally busy chasing her buddy Chucky up and down the slide, so I actually had a chance to relax and catch up with my long-neglected friends. We arranged a potluck for the evening of Rosh Hashanah, and made tentative plans to start a book club focused entirely on trashy novels (Chelle, I hope you and Moosie will be charter members)! I am going to push hard for our first selection to be Valley of the Dolls, followed by You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again , the true adventures of Hollywood's top hookers.

The kids moved on to the swings, the merry-go-round, the jungle gym, their energy unflagging despite the 90 degree heat. Bug and Chucky found a soccer ball and started kicking it around, then moved outside the sandbox to the greenbelt beyond, where I could barely see the tops of their tiny heads. Following after them, I realized that we were standing on the precipice of the same mossy hill I recalled from so long ago. I impulsively dropped down onto the grass and instructed the boys to lay down next to me.

"Everybody put your hands over your head!" I called out. "Now one . . . two . . . three . . . ROLL!"

In minutes we were collapsed in a giggly heap at the bottom of the slope. As we ran up the hill to have another go, we saw Chucky's father, Chucky Sr. running towards us, eager to join in the fun. Up and down the hill we went, again and again, until we were giddy with laughter. Well, at least the kids were. Chucky Sr. and I stumbled dizzily back to our picnic table, clutching our stomachs and moaning softly. I guess we're not as young as we used to be.


Blogger moosie said...

I'm up for the book club! I'm up for the book club! :)

3:13 PM  

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