Or so it seems.
To the tiny people running around their grandparents’ backyard, it’s a sword or a magic wand or a cane. If it breaks, there’s another one nearby, ready to take its place.
It’s just a wooden pole holding up a roof in an Adams County field.
At least that’s what it looks like to the grownups.
For Mara and Charlie, it’s an oven that can be used to bake a cake (chocolate with Lightning McQueen sprinkles), sizzle a freshly caught fish or cook a pizza. It has a timer and a shelf for the cake to go on, because it needs to cool, of course.
It’s just a weather-beaten bench along a stream.
A mother might warn her children to be careful around it. Watch out for bugs and splinters, she might say.
But, if she listens closely, she might discover that it’s really a fast-food restaurant, serving up kids’ meals, complete with new toys.
It was just a big backyard on a cool spring day.
They didn’t need to buy tickets or spend hours in the car to get there.
There weren’t any lines to wait in or over-priced, unhealthy food to eat.
It was just a 7-year-old and her 3-year-old brother, playing and using their imagination.
Summer vacation is about to begin, and my kids’ schedules are already booked with summer camps, vacation Bible school and a trip to Raystown Lake with their grandparents.
But there will be plenty of days spent in the backyard and time for them to enjoy being kids.
Because sometimes all our children need is a place to run and a couple of sticks.
Kara Eberle is the day metro editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. She lives with her two children, husband and new kitty in Dover Township.