“Are you OK?”
I started over to the pile of little boys who had just slid down the AstroTurf hill on an old pizza box they found in the trash. They kept going when the box suddenly stopped at the edge of the sidewalk. Laughing and dirty, they jumped up and headed back up the hill, cardboard in tow.
Apparently, they were fine.
“And that’s the kind of playground we think will bring the children of the community together in a safe and fun environment.”
Artists’ renderings of swings, climbing rocks, twisty slides, tall treehouses, spring-mounted animals, swaying bridges, life-sized rope spider webs and winding tunnels wrapped around the meeting room. Rolls of blueprints covered the table. We’ve come a long way from metal monkey bars, squeaky chain swings and boiling-hot-in-the-summer metal slides. Every place a child could possibly fall was soft and cushiony.
The one person who counted, the woman holding a checkbook, sat quietly for a moment. Her eyes were moist but grateful. “This will be a wonderful memorial for a wonderful man who loved children and community.” With a smile, she ripped a check free and passed it across the table. “Thank you.”
“Hey, want to go on the swings? Let’s try out the treehouse. Which slide do you want to try?”
It’s like I wasn’t even there. The cardboard sleds raced past me again and again.