Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Bench Party

Our neighborhood has several benches strategically placed along the sidewalks. I'm not sure if the benches serve any actual purpose. I've never seen a jogger sit on the bench to catch his breath. I've never seen the school bus pull up to a bench full of waiting children quietly resting on the bench. I've only seen the benches used as a congregation point for the seven and under crowd. They prop their bikes against the bench. They pile their toys on the bench. They stand, leap and crawl along the bench.

Today the boys attended an impromptu "bench party." My neighbor, Ms. Inman, owns the house directly in front of the bench. The neighborhood kids had congregated around the bench. Some were kicking balls near the bench. Some were circling the bench on their bikes. Cooper was hanging from a tree behind the bench (shocking, right?). Caleb and Connor were fighting over a flipper in front of the bench (I don't know why either!). Then Ms. Inman emerged from her house carrying a pitcher and plastic cups. The kids grew quiet in anticipation of what liquid may be housed within the walls of the pitcher. Ms. Inman poured the first cup and a bright red substance filled the glass. There was a gasp. It was Kool-aid: a substance that contained no actual fruit, vegetable or nutritional value. The kids were ecstatic. They guzzled the sugary substance down in a matter of seconds and Ms. Inman actually allowed them a second round!

The bench party even got better. After the sugary substance had been consumed Ms. Inman returned to the bench with her final course, the grand finale: pushup pops. The kids could hardly contain their excitement: Kool-aid and push-up pops! At that moment, I think my kids were seriously contemplating asking Ms. Inman to adopt them. The push-up pops were a huge hit. The kids devoured the pops leaving orange streaks on their face, arms and clothes.

The boys had little appetite for dinner tonight. But, there's something to be said about childhood memories of Kool-aid, push-up pops, benches and friends.

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