Lord knows that there are enough things to write about these days.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would be a good topic - but I’d probably need to tone down the anger which I’m not sure I could do.
The immigration situation lingers with no solution - or even an attempted solution - in sight.
The economy is an “iffy” proposition at best given that we’re trillions of dollars in debt and our elected leaders are still spending as if there’s no tomorrow.
Minor aside: Do you know the difference between drunken sailors and our government? Drunken sailors stop spending when they run out of money.
Too, I could write about how tough it is to find a good job just now and provide countless examples of what new graduates or recently laid off workers are facing.
All of which are guaranteed to make you feel worse than when you started reading and I just don’t want to do that. Neither do I want to spend several hours writing and then polishing something guaranteed to get my blood going too.
So, instead, I’m going to tell you about a party that took place last Sunday.
At our house. In the rain. With seven 5-year-olds and assorted parents in attendance.
For good measure, throw in our dog, Monty, who believes that he belongs at all such gatherings and who loves nothing better than when I break out the barbecue grill.
You see, our granddaughter’s pre-school class had just finished the year and my wife and daughter decided that they needed to have a party to celebrate.
My main contribution while all of this was being planned was a “deer-in-the-headlights” look which eventually got me relegated to the duties of chief cook, bottle washer, errand runner, and silent observer of all things five-year-olds can get into when it’s raining outside and the food, ice cream, watermelon, strawberries, cupcakes, and (freshly squeezed - thank you very much) lemonade are both abundant and right to hand.
I’m forced to admit, however, that I had a great time during the proceedings even though I’d almost forgotten just how much noise kids can make when they decide that running circles through the house and squealing at the top of their lungs are the things most needing to be done at any given moment.
I’d almost forgotten that kids can turn any object into a toy and that fifty-pound dogs will enthusiastically join in the chasing of such toys with (in the truest sense of the word) reckless abandon.
I’d almost forgotten that kids are endlessly creative in finding ways to have fun. We had no set games. No real rules. No hired help. They had the run of the house and were on their own in finding things to do. They succeeded.
The party, of course, included the obligatory upchucking on the part of one participant. This was to be expected and is, after all, the real reason for wooden floors and paper towels. He was back in action a few minutes later - none the worse for it and having been missed only momentarily.
Standing back, cooking, retrieving dishes, making sure that no one got into the power tools, etc. also gave me the time to watch the parents.
I’m here to report that they’re every bit as good at parenting as we were (or thought we were) while our parents were watching us at similar parties. They filled plates while talking about the movies they’d seen. They cleaned faces while describing plans for the summer. They calmed hurt feelings while looking for lost toys. They laughed and had as much fun as parents anywhere can have at these controlled-mayhem events.
Even though I can grouse with the best of them, that afternoon provided me with several good laughs, more smiles than I could count, and reminded me that a good dose of kids every now and then is good for the soul.
The moment that stood out, though, was when one particular storm of kids whirled through the house and a small part of that storm broke off to hug my leg and said, “Come play with us, grandpa.”
And you just know I did.
Because - more than most things - a few hours spent messing around with kids can sure put the world into proper perspective.
Biography - Larry Simoneaux
Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.