I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Thankful for people, park, laughter

We live across the street from Collins Park. Keith and I have lived here since the early days of our marriage. The house is built for my limitations by my brother Paul Fredrickson who was a local contractor. Having the park across the street has been a blessing in so many ways.

 

I am a bit claustrophobic, but with the park across the street rather than more houses, I don’t feel hemmed in. When our kids were small, we could go hang out across the street at the park on nice days. Over the years, family friends have used the park for any number of get-togethers and picnics. We’ve even attended an Easter Sunrise Service at the park.

 

Every Spring the cars started filling the roadway as baseball practice got underway. Then came the games throughout the summer, lights on till long after dark, and individuals yelling and cheering until we couldn’t wait for the game to end. My kids would beg money to spend on candy, etc. at the canteen. Once in a while, I even gave in.

 

In the early days, some thought nothing about blocking our drive with their cars, keeping us from getting out, but this pretty much stopped after a while. (I’ve wondered if my article about the problem made a difference.)

 

Other than game times, kids and families used the park all summer long. Families had reunions and other gatherings. Sometimes we didn’t have far to view fireworks when families shot them off at the park on Independence Day. During the summer, the park was filled with excited yells and laughter as children played on the equipment meant for their enjoyment. The laughter made me smile.

 

Then last year, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all was silent. The park was off-limits to the children who needed activity and fun. When the wind blew, I sometimes heard the rattle of swing chains, but it was a lonely sound without the children.

 

This year, I am once again hearing laughter at the park. Many walk by with their dogs at their heels. Kids are riding by on bikes with friends. Even baseball is gearing up. More cars line the streets and baseball calls echo across the ballfield. At times in past years, the lights, sounds, cars, the overall noise level irritated me. After the silence of last year, I am glad to hear the laughter emanating from across the street. It almost relaxes me this year. I smile and give thanks that despite the heartaches and frustrations of last year, Americans are strong and resilient, and we will not only survive—but also thrive.

© 2021 Carolyn R Scheidies

Column Published in Kearney Hub 5/10/2021

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