Now it's a given, as a kid, you are going to crash and burn at least once on a bicycle ~ the dreaded learning curve bites hard, especially on a gravel road. We watch helplessly as Maya goes down, hands outstretched to stop her fall. The tears and screams are swift and within 10 seconds three moms, a dad, Rod and I and four playmates are sprinting towards the commotion. Nothing serious, a little gravel burn, hurt pride and probably a few bruises. She recovers quickly and is off to home for a bandaid.
The four boys (Nolan, Evan, Alexander and Atticus) decide it's time to go on a bear hunt. Rod cuts walking sticks (for protection of course) to size for each of the team and off they go down into the pasture and the great unknown. A teenage neighbor has built a tree house near the property line and left the ladders there. One of the boys wants to climb but they discuss the fact it's not their tree house and they shouldn't climb the ladder. A black cat dashes out of nowhere into the brush and someone shouts "Panther". One of the boys was a little scared and said he'd feel better if Maya was along (she's the oldest). Maya, now recovered, sprints down to the outpost and joins the hunt.
I'm sitting on the retaining wall with two residents moms and a dad and the mom of two of Nolan's playmates, watching the adventure unfold and listening to them talk about Rod's connection to kids and the lessons they always learn. This time it's leadership, being brave, and making good decisions. It's all too cute and the mom's are sighing with delight that they have a few unbridled minutes of not having to be on point. Rent a Grandpa!
The group returns from the hunt and Nolan shouts "magic cart ride" and the boys head for the Garden Way cart and the compost pile. Rod stands it on end and they all hop in, stacked like cord wood, for the short ride to the "fort" at the base of our redwoods. Trouble on wheels!