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The Way I’ve Scene ItBY DENISE POYERMy Facebook post was simple. It read, “Hot, sticky summer night. Fire flies ushering in the dark. Who wants to play kick the can?” In 22 hours, there were 20 thumbs-upor heart approvals and more than 20 rem- iniscent comments. Almost every person chiming in is over 50, and a couple of them were over 60.I recently saw quoted, “At some point in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time, and nobody knew it.” – Unknown. It stopped my heart for a beat, because of its raw truth. On Country Club Terrace, we were thick as thieves. We played outside more than we played in. If the weather was good, we played outside. If it wasn’t, we played outside anyway. We pelted each other with snowballs or huddled on someone’s porch to dodge the rain. We dribbled a basketball on the skimpiest bit of driveway when the snow finally ebbed away in the spring. In summer, we played whiffle ball, kickball, and spud. When the mosquitoes were thick and thirsty, we de- lighted in night games like bloody mur- der, capture the flag, and kick the can. We hooted and hollered and carried on as kids will do. We had the run of the neighbor- hood, and there were so many kids who all played together, we were welcome inGet Out and Playevery yard. When the games called for the formation of teams, we tried to stack the skills fairly, so it would be fun for everyone. Each team had good players, bad players, and someone’s kid sister or brother. When the youngest ones stepped up to kick or to bat, the big kids all spread out and fumbled whichever ball was in play. We cheered the littlest runners and high fived them when they scored. It was inexplicable fun, and our bonds grew strong and everlasting. At some point, the older kids preferred simply congregating to walk and gab, and the little kids be- came the big kids, and finally, the last of us outgrew the games. I don’t know when we last congregated under the street light at dusk on Country Club Terrace, but it never occurred to me that the end had come.Why did we stop playing? Did it fall out of fashion? Isn’t it still fun? It is to me. When the circumstances allow it, I like toleap through the lobby or sing and dance all the way to my office while swinging whatever is playing a little too loudly on my Bluetooth speaker over my head. It makes people smile. Why? Because it is silly and fun, and adults still want to play. I hope I never stop. I want ride my bike (Look mom, no hands!) I want to skate (roller or ice) when I can, I want to fail miserably at Bag-o. I want to hula hoop even if it only turns once or twice before bouncing onto the ground. I want to hide in the shadows and jump out and scare the socks off of people – which I’m not very good at, because I’m usually laughing so hard, the element of surprise is ruined, but I sure love doing it. I freely admit to getting out my color books and crayons at Thanksgiving, joining in the silly fun that ensues when we pull the annual ball and paddle from each of our Christmas stock- ings, and heck yeah, I’m certainly not going to waste the jar of bubbles or can of silly string that was thoughtfully left in my basket by the Easter Bunny. I’m do- ing it all. I intend to instigate shenanigans indefinitely. Is it immature? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the least. Life is short, and I love to laugh. Even though the games and players change, you can still count me in. It is July, so with any luck at all, by the time you read this, I will have launched a successful attack on my nephew, Deck- lan, with a very awesome super soaker, and he is 12, so there will be no mercy. Game on.ANNUAL REPORT CARD I SCENE 4307 7

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