Thursday, November 29, 2007
Perchance to play
I have had a few of you ask "why no posts lately?" It has not been due to lack of ideas, but too many. I was taking my daughter Bailey to school this morning and she made a comment on a rocking horse in a yard that got me thinking of this one. She said "I always wanted one of those". I, not seeing the "those" said -a "A tree?" And she explained that it was an old-fashioned rocking/hobby horse. We discussed rocking horses for a moment and my mind wandered to this blog. (I also want to pay homage and give kudos to all those that have done a "bit" on this subject. I have heard some, but these thoughts are mine.) Bailey was talking about the rocking horses with the four springs that suspend the horse from a frame. I don't think they make those any more. I KNOW they don't make them like when I was a kid. I remember one such horse (and I honestly do not remember whether it was ours or a friends) that was great fun. However, it was a death trap. The springs were like something off of an old front-end loader, or as I told Bailey a '59 Buick. And hence this blog. Toys now are all about safety. Look at the lead paint thing and Chinese toys. Hey, we had toys painted with radium! Seriously, glow in the dark stuff was commonly covered in radium. IT GLOWED! Of course some of the kids did also after playing with them. I scoff at lead paint. We poured lead paint over our toys prior to putting them in infant's mouths. .melborp on ,semitemos sdrawkcab gnittirw rof tpecxE The rocking horse I remember had those springs on each corner waiting like sunning crocodiles for a body part to get too close. These springs could take a toe without a break in the rocking motion. The ride was wonderful, but getting on or off was a tremendous challenge. Of course, our goal in most cases was to get the other person to get tangled up in the springs as often as possible. I will say that the closest I have ever come to an Olympic style dismount was in getting off that horse. ("I don't know Bobby, I think he stuck the landing!") To get a fold of skin stuck in those springs was to experience a small sample of hell itself. (Leave me, save yourself!) We had other cool toys to play with and on. I won't even go to the playground where monkey bars were set in concrete over packed earth. You were very motivated to finish your flip. If you fell you risked crushed bones. A good playground was measured by the height of the slide. Some were pure monoliths rising above the concrete, asphalt, and packed earth like a beacon. (maybe later) I will mention weapons. For anyone my age or close, to walk down the toy aisle and see what they have done with toys guns is alarming and dissapointing. All of them look extremely fake with the orange plastic ends. Our guns looked real! They all shot something. You can shoot a NERF arrow now, but how about a projectile that could put out an eye? We were all about the eye. The first time you heard that mom say "Be careful, don't shoot at the head. You could put out an eye" was like releasing the hounds. The hunt was on. You couldn't have made an eye shot more appealling if you had painted a target around it. For years, every Monday, all boys would have red spots all over their faces. (What's wrong Scott, you feel OK. Do you have a fever?) An eye shot was the culmination of a great war game. The only thing to compare was a groin shot, but I won't elaborate. (just sufface to say, it is a wonder my generation has progeny) Tool sets. I will admit there were plastic toys (maybe with a little radium on them if they were really cool); but we had METAL tools. We had hammers that would drive a nail or split a skull. Pliers that would grab (insert your own groin reference here) and twist like an alien abduction. Bob the Builder is good, but you can't use a three inch plastic screwdriver as much of a weapon. We had "my first crowbar" and "Sammy's powersaw" to play with. (OK, I am embelishing now). You get the idea. I could go on, but...... I wonder if there are any '59 Buick springs anywhere. I may build Bailey that rocking horse. Later.