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March 28, 2022


Simple trick to inspire your children!  Today I traveled with my daughter as she took 12 year old Emma to the home school roller skate event.  It was a lot like watching an old episode of I Love Lucy mixed with a little Andy Griffith and topped with The Brady Bunch.

The rink built in the 1950s had been resuscitated but not updated.  The gentle crowd felt like a family reunion without any old people.  Well I guess I looked to be the exception to that statement but from the backside of my lying eyes I was with peers.  

A couple of handful of moms from their 20s to 40s were riding herd over some 40 doggies ranging from stumbling toddlers to graceful teens barely of driving age.  There was an infant sprinkled in occasionally as the herd was still growing.  

The moms & offspring were modestly dressed mostly in jeans without holes.  I’m not suggesting that they were less affluent, I’m sure they had the more expensive jeans with holes and shreds at home.  The wedding bands were smaller for the litters were larger, 4 & 5 pups were common.  

The skaters were a delight to watch.  Starting with a toddler on wheels that barely turned. She walked fearlessly in the taller crowd undaunted by the world around. Teenage girls glided in pairs to the traditional rink music and one young fellow earnestly trained,  honing spins, tiny jumps and backwards skates.

I sat on a bench protected from the road warriors by a short wall with an entertaining view of the school excursion.  It was cold to a sitter, barely 60 degrees for the comfort of the wheeled athletes who were pumping extra blood to fuel straining legs.

I chuckled as one little guy about 7 was furiously swinging his arms up and down with his legs following suit reminding me of Bob Hope doing a vaudeville slap stick. 

The girls from 9 to 12 would cautiously roll by sometimes holding hands and always in twos or threes in cheery conversations.  The boys of that age were solo, striving to conquer the floor with as much speed as possible.  Spastically circling, barely maintaining upright as they charged flailing the air with arms and legs striving to pass the next schooler.

One pock marked teen in dark sunglasses rolled round the dim room with an air only Fonzie of Happy Days could portray.  I wondered his view behind the shades.

The music was a sound for all seasons.  Louis Armstrong and its A Wonderful World.  The latest Disney movie songs.  Of course nobody has ever musically moved in a crowd without the Village People chanting Y-M-C-A.  The Cool Kid left character and joined  some of the girls to mime the arm movements to the forever dance hit. Current rock and even Latin Salsa spiced the air.

As always they stopped the crowd and put up the gates for the Limbo!  The victory normally goes to the short in that competition and despite some heroic crawls by the older kids a 4 year old girl in a flowered dress with leggins took the honors as she tediously inched under the bar.

I watched a 5 year old boy in black pants and T-shirt haltingly push his wheels around the floor with great effort but impressive speed.  His eyes caught mine and he rolled over to greet with enthusiastic conjectures.  

I welcome and nodded but didn’t understand a word until he said “Will you watch me?”  I grinned and affirmed.  Then with big smile and a look of destiny, jumped in the fray and attacked the course.

I was amazed as at the promise of an audience his gait was smoother and his speed increased.   It is interesting to see how showing interest in a child helps them roll more steady through life.   He stopped by every round after and I praised his progress.  The time investment drew his 6 year old brother who wanted a share of the attention.

Nostalgically the session ended with the Mickey Mouse Club goodbye…M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E.   The first spelling knowledge of many generations since Walt first put kids on stage.

Naturally my granddaughter Emma was the best skater on the floor and yes, the spinning ball glittered light on all with the courage to strap on wheels and move through life on a higher plain.

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