A few years ago, a close friend mentioned I’d lost my sense of enchantment.
It made me reconsider. Gray hairs—not refundable. Dime store magic only masks the problem.
Now I take my inner child out to play. Respite care. It saves me from the days I could wake up storming like bridezilla or going to bed in a chocolate coma.
During my well spent youth, the girls in my neighborhood formed the Park Royal Dynamite Club, named for our neighborhood—and the magazine we read.
Defenders of the imagination.
We built forts in the woods, raced hippety hops down the street, pitched tents in backyards.
On a warm summer evening, dew mellowing the fresh cut lawn smell. No moon. The stars twinkling between the hemlock branches. Frogs singing their lullaby. We packed into the tent, youngest to oldest. Ages 6 to 10. Sleeping bags, pillows, security blankets, flashlights, and Pringles.
At 10-years-old, I slept near the tent flap protecting us from marauders.
Mrs. B., the responsible adult, said, “Do not completely zip the tent flap in case someone needs to make a potty run. The back door will be unlocked. The bathroom light’s on. Sweet dreams, girls.”
I woke up sometime after the frogs settled down. Something long, dark, and thin climbed the desert-sand-colored tent flap—inches from my nose. I found my flashlight. A six-inch-long, dark-brown slug clung to the flap. Five of his best buds sprawled across my sleeping bag.
My gut twisted into a giant pretzel. A blood curdling scream burst from my lips.
When ten little girls sleep in a tent, and one screams, what do you think is going to happen? Mass hysteria. The youngest cried.
My best friend—the most level headed nine-year-old-in-a-crisis—tossed me a can of Pringles.
“They have salt. Scrape ’em off with a chip and toss ’em in the yard.”
We repelled the slug invasion, did not wake the adults, went back to sleep.
When the sun rose, I peeked through the flap.
The largest slug wrapped itself around a chip and feasted like Superbowl Sunday—writhing. The others, dead.
We celebrated at breakfast telling Mrs. B. how we would save the world one can of Pringles at a time.
Our group evolved, some moved away, other moved back, new members joined. Marriages, children, grandchildren, divorces, loss.
We gather once a month for our inner children to play.
And this month we make Shrinky Dinks.
“It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” Jean-Luc Godard.
Nourish your soul. Remember to play.