Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sink With Your Parents

Well, I've been around the country
And I've met a lot of kids
Some kids are smart and some kids are dumb
But I don't pass judgement they're just having fun.
---opening lines of "Sink With California" by Youth Brigade, 1983 
***
I picked up the local newspaper this week. The headline screamed:

KID MELTS IN LOCAL WATERS
Well-meaning parents told kids that they would melt. They did according to local police reports. 

Kids, do you believe this bullsh*t?

***

A local ice cream and fast food eatery, Jimmy's, next to a stream. The water is typically low and slow, though in some areas the banks are deeply eroded and steep. Yet there's plenty of places to traverse up and down easily. The most heavily trafficked path gets slick, as ground up shale soils do, after a rain.

About a quarter of times we go, there are kids in the stream. I like ice cream, and this ice cream is cheap and the scoops are generous, so we're there frequently. A couple times a month. Sometimes parents and grandparents join them.

Beren usually gets down in the water. He usually requests that a parent or two, or a grandparent or two, get down there for some dam building, leaf floating, or muck slopping activity. Once there, we're there, sometimes much longer than I'd prefer.

The majority of the times we go to Jimmy's, kids are forbidden to go in the water. I feel the kids and their parents staring at us. It's pretty uncomfortable. We're what I consider a "good" influence (making other people's kids want to go into the water) and a "bad" influence (making other people's kids want to go into the water).

Some kids are reckless, some clumsy, and some are just little. They probably need a little help. Parents, buy a cheap set of dark colored Jimmy's clothes. 

***

Kids only section, no parents allowed past this line. Really, parents, I mean it.

Some streams have glass, fishing lures, and other debris. Once Beren and I dragged a 8' tall metal post out of the Nishisakawick Creek in Frenchtown.

Kids, if you are reading this, don't tell your parents about the metal post. If you do, they definitely will not let you in the water. Instead, ask them for a sturdy pair of water shoes and practice walking on slippery rocks (when they are not looking!). When your parents are deep into their phone, take the shoes off. Unbelievable, right? Rocks are not deadly, not even wet ones.

Never, ever complain about getting wet. If you do, you will get an immediate "I told you so" lecture on the creek banks, and you will also get a "remember last time" lecture the next time you so much as look at that water.

For your sake, kids, bring a hobo sack of extra "play" clothes, especially if you aren't usually allowed to play. Think ahead, put on the dingy play clothes prior to leaving the house. Have stash of play clothes in your booster seat for surprise trips to Jimmy's. Don't get caught unprepared. Water is everywhere. Mud and dirt are even more frequently encountered in the landscape.

Boys and girls, absolutely no brand new shoes, no tutus, no brand names - not even cheap box store brand names. Have you ever seen a dirty ballerina? Don't simultaneously ruin your chances of becoming a ballerina and ever getting wet outside a pool or bathtub! Boys, you get off a little easier here, but make sure to wear black to avoid dirt and water stains.

Wise up kids, your parents want to control you. Don't let them. Don't believe the mind control, or one day you will melt upon stepping into water. It's true, but only if you believe your parents.

Now, go ask your parents for a set of play clothes. Loose lips sink ships on dry land.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever we drive down to Milford to pick fruit at Phillips Farms, we go to the Ship Inn afterwards for their good pub food and good beer. Last time, we finished picking before the Ship Inn was open, so we went down to the stream that runs under Main Street and mucked around around for much longer than we intended to--all eight of us, kids and adults alike. We explored under the bridge and splashed each other in the sunshine. The rock-skipping got quite competitive (primarily among the men). The kids were naked by the end, and everyone agreed that it was the most fun we'd had in a long time. Some of us started out cranky but were gradually disarmed by everyone else's high spirits. I'm so grateful we didn't spend that day at a soccer game or a children's birthday party at a high-security jump-around facility eating Costco sheet cake with waxy frosting.

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