Today’s world lacks imagination. The proliferation in today’s culture of video games and other technical wonders challenges native imagination.
My dearest friend recently moved from near the Florida/Georgia boundary and now resides in the north Georgia mountains. The reason? To be near a robust colony of grandchildren.
This accomplished and highly educated gentleman traveled throughout the planet making music of the highest order. He and his bride are well read and enjoy what I would call the good things in life. Of the aforementioned good things, family and friends are most dear.
Recently two of the grandkids arrived at their mountain home. My friend provided the two youngsters with the simplest form of play support: two spoons, two cups and a large backyard.
My beloved colleague gave the two boys the items and indicated the large yard at their feet. I imagine he said, “Knock yourselves out.”
Wait, you say. No downloads? No half dozen, double-A batteries? No Japanese designed state of the art digital screens in hand?
Nope. Two spoons. Two cups.
My literary friends who read my columns are already saying, “Way to go, Horatio, get that low hanging column fruit.”
Okay. Guilty. I get it.
But, like the best of columns, this one contains a big pile of truth.
Years ago, my little family journeyed to Los Olivos, California. Los Olivos sits north of Santa Barbara and is the location of luxurious horse properties and expansive vineyards. The wine produced in the area is superb.
When we visited the area it was also the home of a childhood hero of mine, Fess Parker.
Yep, Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone himself. He and his son owned a winery that still produces excellent wine. Sometimes one can find the Fess Parker bottles in Floyd County stores.
We stayed at his eponymous inn and went down for breakfast one morning. To my shock, the man himself walked in with his morning newspaper and settled in to his usual table. For a person my age, it might as well have been Mick Jagger.
After I ascertained that he had finished his breakfast, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I approached and said, “Mr. Parker, I just wanted to say what a wonderful lifetime of memories and joy you have brought to me, and I want to thank you.”
He put his paper down and regarded me with a smile. He thanked me and glanced over at the bride and son. “Is that your family?’
I answered in the affirmative and he quickly rose with an “I’ll be right back.”
He returned to our table, introduced himself and presented an autographed compact disc with all the old tunes, including “The Tale of Davy Crockett.” I was gobsmacked.
The hours I spent with friends in rural Thomson, Georgia, playing Davy Crockett cannot be counted. Out of a backyard that consisted of nothing but pine trees, pine straw and broken tree limbs, we would create rivers, mountains and dangerous journeys. Our forts made of nothing but sticks and pine straw were architectural wonders. In our imagination, Walt Disney’s Fess Parker was there with us, and adventures were never in short supply. I didn’t own a coonskin cap, but that was okay. There were no rivers for miles, but our backyard had a roaring current.
Sometimes I wish we could declare several early years in our children’s lives a no tech zone. I wonder if, left to their own devices, children of such a no tech era would be even more imaginative in their formative years. Emerging from such a short time perhaps kids would grow up to create even more wondrous imaginative tools designed to improve our journey on this planet.
So this weekend, if you have kids or grandkids, try an experiment. Give them a spoon and a cup and send them out into the backyard.
My great friend reported to me that his grandkids ended up with dirt in their hair, eyes and mouths. I bet the bathtub later on that evening was a mess, and a good one.
Come to think of it, we could all use some dirt in our hair, eyes and mouths. Our imaginations would be better for it.
Where’s my spoon and cup?