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Jamming in the Sandbox

by Donald Price
page three

For a long time we never used the sandbox in the winter. When it was cold, truck driving in our parkas, snow-pants, pacs, earmuffs and mittens was cumbersome. When it was snowy, we had little to do after the roads had been plowed.

That changed the winter we were walking down the toy aisle at K-Mart. Mickey stopped, turned around, and went back to the Play Doh display.

"Hey, I gotta idea," he said. " Play Doh roads."

As soon as we got home with the Play Doh, we beamed-in the old ranch. Our first job was to repair the bumpy roads. Then I cranked up the old John Deere tractor because I had to go plow the Well, to be honest, I just wanted to drive it on the yellow Play Doh road.

"Pop pop putta-putta-pop-pop," I said. "Oh-oh, hey Mick, my tractor cant get through this ditch."

"Hey, I gotta idea," he said. "Lets make a bridge."

"Okay, but we need some lumber and tools and stuff like that."

"Call the lumber yard."

"Okay, ring-ring-ring. Ring-ring-ring," I said.

"Hello," Mickey, the lumberyard clerk, answered.

"Hello, lumberyard? We need oodles and tons of boards."

"Boards?"

"Yes, two by ten boards, eight by eight beams, bolts, spikes and nails for making a bridge,"

"Ok, Ill haulm over,"

"Umm How?" I asked.

"Uh I gotta idea," he said. "Lets get the lectric train!"

As we grew up, we began to explore new boundaries for old projects. Mickey thought of a new way to explore Stay Awake Pass, for example.

"Can I take my skateboard? I'd like to board the downhill parts."

"Sure, go get it."

"I don't have one."

"Let's make one with a Popsicle stick."

"They're on sale now at Keep Ripping Chalet. They only want $89.95 for Bearings of Terror. It cost a hundred bucks yesterday. And tomorrow."

"In sandbox money or wallet money?"

"Wallet money."

"Whose wallet?"

"Yours."

"Mine, huh? Let me think Ring-ring-ring, ring-ring-ring," I said.

"Who ya calling?"

"Mickey's Yard Care and Trash Removal Service."

Skateboarding wasn't his only preference over playing in the sandbox, as I found out the day we were playing with my collection of matchbox cars.

"I have a date tomorrow night," he said.

"Ok, let's tidy up this little Corvette. Girls love Vettes. I had one when I met your Mother, you know?"

"Nah, our station wagon will do."

"Station wagon?"

"The one parked in the garage."

After that, we agreed to remove the sandbox. Afterwards, I was looking through the garage window and saw Mickey near its old location with a forlorn, sad expression. Once I realized he had caught me the same way and had to grab my handkerchief.

"Allergies," I said.

"Dad? Let's put the sandbox back, ok? I think it would good for your allergies."

"Order some sand, I'll get the boards, hammers and nails."

I loved playing, planning and building with my son during our growing up years. He doesn't live here now but he comes to visit, occasionally. And when he does

"No, Dad, I'd rather not play in the sandbox. I'd be embarrassed if you had company.

"Hey, I brought my guitar, though," he added. "Get your banjo and let's jam! Besides, I need help with those hammering-on and slide techniques you showed me."

"Ok, that means Bluegrass and Gospel, ya know. That's where I use them."

"Gospel it is! After some rock and roll of course."

By late evening, we slowed the pace! We practiced effects such as hammering-on and pulling-off and ended our session after I got him to sing some of my favorites--with his deep baritone voice! And that's nearly as touching to me as the day he was born--after Doc Palmer told the nurse to let me hold him.

I went up to my bedroom, went to the window and looked into the night as I always do--it was a dark night, no moon. Then I opened the window--it was also a very warm night. I crawled into bed and turned off the lamp. I was just about asleep when I thought I heard someone in the sandbox. Then someone cranked-up the John Deere.

"Pop pop putta-putta-pop-pop"

Never had I heard the old tractor sound better--than in deep baritone.

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