Sometimes Little Things Are Best

I heard one of the best sounds that I’ve heard in a long time the other night.

It was Saturday night and outside the window where I was working I could near the sounds of an aluminum bat being dropped to the asphalt of our street and then the sound of children laughing and screaming.

I walked over to the door to get a better look, and there were neighborhood kids ranging in age from probably 4 to 12 playing a wicked game of something that can only be described as a mix of baseball and kickball played with a giant bouncy ball.

The laughter was genuine and uncontrolled. And the kids were playing together outside in the street and not glued to a video game console. It warmed my heart to see and hear the kids having fun with each other and not relying on organized play dates or formal sports leagues. It reminded me of the pickup games we played in our neighborhood when I was a kid.

When we first moved to this neighborhood nine years ago, it was mostly a “boy” neighborhood. Our guys were little and most of the other kids on the street were boys. As a result, there were lot of guns, bows and arrows, ball and bikes that filled the yards and streets. Over the years, we’ve seen our share of baseballs, football, basketballs and lacrosse balls.

That tradition continued on when our neighbors had three little stair step boys. These were rambunctious guys. The kind that would climb a tree just to look over the fence to see how your BBQ was going.

But the other day, I looked out the window and there was a tiny girl in a wedding gown, another in a party dress and a third in who knows what, but they were having a tea party in the driveway. Suddenly, we had a “girl” neighborhood. And that is a refreshing turn of events. In were sidewalk chalk, tea parties and running through sprinklers.

Actually, what we have is a neighborhood blended full of boys and girls, which to my mind is even better. We loaned our basketball goal to the girls up the street and take certain pride when we see all the kids and their dads up their shooting hoops.

Our guys are high schoolers now and much of their time is spent in front of video game and computer screens, so it was nice to hear the clang of the bat hitting the pavement last week. And it was even more of a thrill to see that kids were out playing and parents were socializing as the game went on until the streetlights came on and darkness filled the neighborhood.

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