Most of us remember a favorite park we played in as kids. Here is the one me and my kids loved the most.
To Roger and Jane…
At the old house on Monterrey one could climb over the back fence and walk into the park on Sandy Lane if you wanted to. And while we did not get to the park that way I took you two kids there many times. That park however began to show its age and sometimes less than law abiding citizens went there. Thus, over time we went there less and less.
We stopped going there almost entirely when the city built a new park at the end of Morrison north of I-30. It was new indeed and we started calling it “The New Park”, the Sandy Lane Park became “The Old Park” as a result. The New Park has a name too, Cobble Stone Trail Park, but we never called it that. Over the years “The New Park” name stuck to that pleasant piece of earth not so far from the old house.
The New Park was a fun place for you each time we were there. Unlike older parks which had just swings and a slide, this one also had wooden structures kids could climb on, all nestled up against a small forest of post and blackjack oak trees that was part of the Cross Timbers that draped Fort Worth’s east side.
I would push you on the swings and you would climb over the wooden jungle gyms that were there. Jane being more coordinated sometimes amazed me by seeing where she would climb when she was little. Roger, you were more conventional but you enjoyed the stuff just as much. And sometimes I would take your bicycles there and you would peddle up and down the long and curved sidewalk, going back and forth until you got tired. In fact many of your bike riding lessons took place there.
Besides the exercise we got, sometimes we took a picnic lunch and ate it on the picnic tables underneath the big trees by the sidewalk. I took some cold beer with me too on a hot day in the summer – bought at Best Mart of course.
Since the park adjoined someone’s horse farm we petted the horses too. We would go up to the fence and the horses wondered over. You would reach up and pet their noses and we fed them carrots or sugar cubes. At first you were afraid the horses would bite you but when you saw me do it and tried it yourselves those fears went away. The New Park was more than just a playground because of things like that – you learned something new.
That little park was full of things to do that built many memories of how you were when you were little. But of course you both grew up, moved away, I moved too, and we did not go there anymore. But that is not totally true either. As I got older I sometimes stopped by there on the way home. I would pull into the parking lot and would get out and walk around with the memories of us flooding back into the present time. I could see you running around and having fun like you were little again. Even though you were not with me you were there in a sense. It was as if the echoes of your childhood – yes I’ve used that phrase before – were still around the swings and the jungle gym. I was transported back in time and felt I was home again and not as old.
The New Park will remain with me always. A place filled with many cherished recollections of your young and little years – memories of many good, fun, and exciting times spent together under its shady trees. It is a place that is pleasant, comforting, and filled only with good. All of the parks in our lives should forever be that way unlike the trying playgrounds we see so often in our lives.