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Elaborate toys Я them, not us


Our grandson Kolten, who'll be 6 in early September and who has spent a week with us for the past two summers, is safely back home in South Texas now.

We all had a great time, although yours truly had to hit the Aleve a little more than usual to keep up. 

Suellen and I love our back yard and covered patio.  It's a great place to sip a cool beverage and to watch birds and squirrels battle for dominant time atop our new squirrel feeder (more on that later).  Last week, though, it became a baseball field, football field, lawn dart field, Wacky Wobble ball playground, sprayground (when the sprinkler system kicked in) and, more than once, an emergency medical facility. 

How in the world can a running boy step on a round rock and slice his heel?  Believe me, it can happen.

Koltuse1 We explored 113 million-year-old dinosaur tracks near Glen Rose, TX in the Paluxy River bed in Dinosaur Valley State Park and made a startling discovery before we even set foot out of the parking lot.  My brother (who gamely came along) and I noticed a perfectly formed dino footprint in the asphalt beside a history info board.

Dinosaurs . . . asphalt?

Hmm, who knew dinosaurs still stomped around Central Texas in the 1960s or '70s, when the state park shifted into tourist dino mode?  Can we get a T-rex investigative team out to Glen Rose please?  Stat!

Later that day, our car broke down at the halfway point of the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  Anywhere else along the wildlife drive, we would have been stranded and surrounded by giraffes and zebras looking for snacks tossed from automobiles.  (But that's another story.) 

Kolten made the trip to the Dallas area armed with a high-tech iPod loaded with electronic games and movies.  He also brought his baseball glove and a cherished baseball handed down through Dad Marc from Grandpa Dave.

Everything else awaited his highly anticipated arrival:  Educational, but entertaining books like Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!" and "Sesame Street's" "Elmo's Good Manners Game" changed the bedtime routine around here dramatically.  So long Texas Rangers, hello story time. 

But Suellen also loaded up on fun stuff.  We played foam basketball in the bedroom, Hot Hoops basketball game and "Don't spill that" in the living room.

David Letterman likes to say that all he had to play with when he was kid was a stick.

I remember spending a lot of fun time with Army men, marbles and a wagon before sports and bicycles entered my life. Outside, I remember digging a huge Army foxhole in the back yard and piling up rocks for ammo just in case of an attack.  (The Baker boys across the street could get a little frisky.)

On rainy days, I spent many joyful hours placing dozens of Army men all around my room (on shelves, on the window ledge, slightly hidden behind lamps, etc.)  Then I'd spend even more time shooting them with rubber bands.  Can I tell you something sort of private?  It was a blast!

I had lots of ammunition because I always had a paper route.  Suellen got Kolten a battalion or so of Army men last week.  Newspapers don't come with rubber bands in our neighborhood any more, though.  I tried tossing the flimsy plastic bag the paper arrives in at the Army men.

No luck.  I swear, I thought I saw one of those toy soldiers with a taunting smile on his plastic lips.

Kolten worked his way through the Wacky Wobble ball (full of air and water), the lawn darts, the toy cement truck, the Nerf football and the game where you throw bean bags into gaping mouths of a wooden monkey, lion, hippo or bear.  He had fun with the bubble squirter and the Woosh Koosh Frisbee.

Late in the week he appeared to be concentrating on a game I like to call Gather Up About 30 Small Rocks and Place Them All Around The Fort Constructed out of Patio Furniture.  If I'm not mistaken, there were some Army men lurking around the rock and patio furniture fortress.

Now there's a game I can identify with.  

I could teach that kid so much if I just had a box of newspaper rubber bands.  


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Enjoyed this one---Myra

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