And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just As Good

The Sarge has teased me now and again that I grew up "ghetto".

My folks, hardworking individuals that they are, didn't have lots of money when I was growing up. Not that we ever worried about going hungry or anything, we just couldn't have the trendy clothes or the coolest new toys. My folks didn't want to spend their hard-earned cash on trash that would need replacing in just a few weeks.

I don't even remember being too upset about it as a kid. They were always pretty open about their priorities and that if it was a choice between having money to take us to a museum/zoo/educational outing or having the money to buy us the latest brand of $150 shoes, they would much prefer the outing.

One of the things I remember wanting and not getting was a "slip and slide". You all know what I am talking about. The plastic sheets that you laid out on your lawn and hooked a hose up to. Oh, the commercials made them seem like heaven. Hordes of children hurdling down a slippery runway of refreshing delight, great big grins on their faces. I wanted one sooo bad.

Well, my Dad was in no way going to shell out the cash for such a thing but he was willing to help us kids out. He rummaged around in his "stash" (the pile of leftover goodies from years of DIY home-improvement projects) and came up with a whole roll of construction plastic.

Ah ha! you all say. Yup, we rolled that plastic out in the yard pleased as punch with our super-smart Daddy who could figure out such a wonderful thing. We searched the yard and the woods around the yard for enough "perfect" rocks to weigh down the corners (and edges) of the plastic while Dad hooked up the hose. The neighbor kids came over, eager to join in the wet and wild fun that plastic and a garden hose promised.

We must have had the biggest "slip'n'slide" in all of creation. Seriously, the thing had to be 5' wide and 30' long. We sprayed it with the hose, then set the sprinkler up so that it would spray on the plastic. Several test runs and slight adjustments later, we were ready to roll. That summer and several after were filled with the squeals of joy and howls of pain that only such a toy can provide. Have you ever gotten a real good skid going only to slide face first into a rock? Or how about sliding right off the edge into a thistle? Ouch! But none of that kept us from our beloved toy.

But that's not what I am here to talk about.

Hehe, shades of Arlo there. Didja catch it?

What I am here to talk about is how much BETTER that homemade waterslide was than the storebought kind. See, Big Sprout followed in her Mommy's bare footsteps and started hounding Dad for a Slip'n'Slide. The commercials still make it look like a little piece of kid heaven, you know.

Well Grandpa Barefoot either couldn't find the old plastic sheet (Hmm, I wonder why? it's only been 20 years since he needed it) or decided that his grandsprout deserved better and he went out and bought the real thing.

All I gotta say is, what a piece of junk! It is small, only a couple of feet wide and maybe 15 long. It does have the super cool channel all along the side for the water to spray out of, and a nice little area at the end for the water to pool in. But the Thing was broke when it came out of the box. Seriously. It had a hole in it that Grandpa Barefoot had to patch the very first day.Also, it isn't as slippery as our old one. Big Sprout regularly gets friction burns on her elbows from the texture of the plastic.


As far as I am concerned, this is just one more illustration proving that growing up "ghetto" is just as good ~~ no BETTER ~~ than having all the goodies you could want.

Excuse me, I am off to buy a roll of construction plastic....


jenny said...

I remember one of the neighborhood kids having one and letting us all use it, except they didn't do a good job of checking the ground where it was laid, and when it was my turn to 'slip and slide' my leg caught a sharp piece of broken glass that poked through the plastic. I had a 5 inch gash on my thigh and that was the end of slip and slide for me!

Sometimes homemade IS so much better than the real thing!

Deb said...

I never had a Slip 'n Slide either...or any of the other cool toys they advertised on TV, unless my mom could find one at a garage sale. Your slide sounds way more cool than the real thing.

My kids, they don't get a fancy inflatable yard pool, they get a POND, complete with leeches!

barefoot gardener said...

Ouch! I was thinking today about all the times we went and laid it down over bumps that would knock the wind out of us, but GLASS?! Yikes.

See, your kids have it better than kids who have a pool...they get the creepy crawly things to go with it! And you get it easy, too. No worrying about chlorine levels or PH, no fussing with a pool vacuum. I am jealous!!