Monday, May 24, 2004

My Son the Wanabe Cliff Diver.

This weekend I took my kids and my brother to Palmer Park. Locals know what that park is like, but for those who aren't from around here I'll give it a few lines of description. It's a big, essentially wild park filled with pine tress and sandstone rock formations. Some of those formations are essentially cliffs 20-30 feet high or so (I've never measured and I've never fallen off, but they seem that high).

I spent a few of my teenage years living right next to the park. In the Summer I would practically live in it, swarming over the rocks, looking for creatures, climbing the cliffs and essentially daring God to injure me for life or kill me. Amazingly I think the worst that ever happened is I slipped while halfway up a cliff (tennis shoes are crap for rock climbing it would seem) and I got one hell of a scrape up my side from the sandstone on the way down. I never broke a bone there.

So, this outing was for me to go tripping down memory lane as well as getting the kids outdoors to possibly rid them of their TV tans.

We parked at the apartment complex that I used to live in and I barely recognized anything. A lot has changed, I'm getting old, etc.

On our way in my sharp-eyed son spotted a lizard sitting on a rock right by the path we were taking. We spent a minute trying to catch him, but he was too fast. He booked across the path into some bushes and that was that. It was just as well, since we didn't have anything to keep him in. I asked everyone if they thought his lizard friends would make fun of him when he told them about how he was nearly abducted by giant aliens, but they just rolled their eyes at me.

My daughter is insanely independent and didn't want to hold my hand until she slid a few feet down the path. Then she realized that perhaps holding my hand wasn't such a bad idea. My brother led the way while my son followed.

As we wound through the rocks I was telling them stories from my time playing in the park when I realized, "Oops. I forgot the unwritten parental rule to never let your children know you had fun when you were a child. Especially if it is fun that you don't let them have." So... I pretty much shut up, explaining that it was because I was old, fat and out of breath, but I could tell the damage was done by the gleam in their eyes.

After about 15 minutes of wandering around in a downhill direction we started to loop back up and around. At one point we had a real good view across the park from the top of one set of cliffs and my son loved it. He kept saying he wanted to come back to the park more often.

Halfway back to where we had entered the park we stopped so I could dump some rocks out of my daughter's shoe. It happened to be at the top of a 15 foot cliff. My brother went to the edge and sat down with his legs dangling off. See, he has no fear. He plays hockey. And he's 17, so of course he's immortal. I was concentrating on my daughter and her shoe so I was only slightly aware when my son walked over to my brother and asked him if he could sit there to. Trevor said something like, "Sure, just be careful." He was right at the edge when I looked over at him and as he was sitting down he started to wobble in preparation for pitching headfirst off the edge. I started to move for him but I was at least six or seven feet away. Thankfully, Trevor was right there and aware of what was happening. He was able to grab him and pull him back.

Nothing bad happened the rest of the trip out. We looked around a bit for the lizard but he was nowhere to be found. Then we went to a normal park where my daughter was able to cut loose from me and have some real fun.

(I had no time to proof and revise this, so... sorry if it sucks overmuch.)

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