After leaving Litchgate, Z-boy and I had lunch and decided to go look at all the houses I've lived in here. Since I was BORN here, that's a lot of houses.
The first in-town house I remembered was a little two bedroom that had a secret park nearby. For years, people have looked at me like I was a little nuts when I talked about the secret park and the climbing bars and the swings. But I KNOW it's there, and we set out to find it. SUCCESS!!!!!
These monkey bars are at LEAST 40 years old... and they didn't look exactly new when I used to play on them! Z-boy was enchanted and thrilled to share my "secret".
We visited quite a few houses on Sunday, and I will save most of them for a "Tour of Homes" serial post - with a picture of the house and stories about living there.
But THIS post is about my afternoon with Z, so I'll skip over some of the driving and the ice cream, and get right to the house I lived in when I went to high school and the one I left to live on my own for the first time...
We drove by there and discovered that the current owner had pretty much ripped out ALL of the landscaping my father had put in. Trees were missing. The house itself looked good, but I felt kind of sad looking at it. It was in this frame of mind that I drove down to Waverly Pond, neighborhood gathering place of old men, Canadian geese and randy teenagers. As I came around the bend, I saw an amazing sight. Enough to make me pull over and look hard.
A flock of woodstorks had stopped at the pond on their way to somewhere else (they don't normally hang out around here).
Z-boy was all excited about the white heron in their midst - "It looks just like a big white musical NOTE!"
On further observation, I noticed that one of them had half-swallowed a green netting of some sort - like maybe the kind of bag that oranges come in. He was shaking his head and desperately trying to either get it loose or swallow it. He was close to shore, so I got out of the car and very slowly approached, hoping to untangle him. Unfortunately, he spooked pretty easily and waded further out and out of my reach. I retreated to the car and Z and I pondered the situation.
Now that I have officially joined the 20th century, I had my cell phone with me. I called Animal Control, which directed me to the Sheriff's department, which directed me to the St. Francis Wildlife Rescue office. Being Sunday afternoon, of course all I got were answering machines (except for the Sheriff's office). I left messages everywhere, and hoped that someone would pick them up soon.
Finally, we pulled away.
Our last stop for the day was the little gingerbread house where I spent my young childhood (5 or 6 to around 9). Nearby was a large park, so after driving around the old house, we went to the park to finish the exercise portion of our day. The park has a large, looping nature/fitness trail, which Z-boy and I took on. The day had remained cool, so we zipped up our jackets and set off.
It was nice and woodsy. This trail was built as a fitness trail, but over the years the signs and stations have been vandalized, so not much remains. But every now and then, you'll come across the incongruous metal bars mounted on wood posts.
We have a local artist who does chainsaw art on felled tree stumps. All over town you can be surprised by dolphins by the side of the road or various birds. We saw this and wondered if it was the whole thing and what it might be. I was thinking a sun, but Z-boy was thinking seeds from a pine cone with their wings still attached.
This park is riddled with little creeks. When I was a kid, they were maybe chest high (to me, the kid) at their deepest. Now some of them go down 10-15 feet and Z-boy was VERY disappointed that I wouldn't let him climb down. The sides are also made of clay, which makes getting out all the trickier!
We finished up our day of adventure at the playground proper, where Z-boy showed off his relatively new ability to make it all the way across the monkey bars!
During our walk, he looks up at me and says, "Mom? This has been the most wonderful day. I hope we never go back to normal."
"What do you think is normal?" I asked.
"Well, we fight an awful lot. It would be nice if we didn't do that so much."