Welcome to the December edition of Share Four Somethings, hosted by Heather Gerwing. In this monthly series, we discuss things we Loved, Read, Treasured, and something Ahead since our last Four Somethings post.
A church in our town recently completed construction on a Treehouse Park.
For those of you who have never heard of this type of park (I hadn’t before one was built near us), a Treehouse Park is one that is completely community funded and built. The park in our town consists of a maze of slides, climbing sections, swings, merry-go-rounds, monkey bars, and many other features.
The surface is made of spongy material to reduce injuries, and the park is specifically designed to include options for children of all abilities and ages.
Our two oldest grandchildren, who live nearby, love the Treehouse Park.
In fact, they love it so much they hate to leave.
We have visited the park three times recently, and each time, they would have gladly stayed until dark. This is Pennsylvania, however. In December.
While the kids play in their shirtsleeves, bringing me jackets, gloves, and hats to hold because they are too warm, Mimi is shivering. On one trip, I had to go sit in the car for a few minutes just to warm up. My teeth were chattering.
I am looking forward to visiting the park with them during warmer weather. Until then, I will remember to wear my warmest coat, hat, and gloves and to bring a blanket.
I have read a bunch of books since my last Four Somethings. A few of note were It’s Never Too Late (an inspirational read about late-in-life athletes), The Mothers (an engrossing novel about growing up Black in America by Brit Bennett), and Unsheltered (most disappointing Barbara Kingsolver book I have read).
The two books which had the most impact on me were I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi and Beartown by Fredrik Backman.
I’m judging I’m Judging You. I give it 3.5 stars out of five. The book was easy to read, but I felt like I had whiplash from trying to follow the author as she judged various aspects of our society.
The book begins as a laugher. Ms. Ajayi introduces us to new terms such as “dinner scrooge” (someone who tries to weasel out of paying their fair share at a restaurant). Also “the SOS pal” (a friend who only calls when she needs something) as she judges some venial foibles.
In the middle of the book, she shifts to a serious tone as she judges us for the mortal sins of racism and white privilege.
At the end of the book, she switches back to lighter fare again as she judges social media faux pas (too many #s) and using the wrong font on our webpages (Comic Sans).
Beartown was hands down five stars out of five.
On the surface, it did not sound like my style of book. Backman wrote a beautifully constructed novel about a small down-and-out community deep in the woods and the boys’ ice hockey team they pinned their hopes of revival on.
I liked Backman’s A Man Called Ove, but I loved Beartown. My copy was dog-eared and marked up with passages too beautiful and poignant to forget.
When my oldest son was two years and three months old, I taught him to ski.
Ski instructor was my first job. I taught skiing to children who were just learning at a tiny ski area with a name designed to send chills down prospective skiers’ spines- Meadow Valley.
Meadow Valley had exactly one chairlift and one T-bar, a diminutive bunny hill, and an a-little-bit bigger bunny hill with gentle, smooth, wide slopes perfect for the novice skier.
I bought my son tiny, inexpensive, but real, skis and supported him between my legs as we snowplowed down the hill, sans poles.
He became one of those annoying little kids who whipped past you, a seven-year-old showing you up, as he barrelled down the hill.
Now his son is learning to ski. Skiing is practically required where they live, a burg with the moniker “Ski Town, USA“.
My grandson, of course, is a child ski prodigy. I am buying tickets for the 2034 Winter Olympics early.
Once Again, I am reluctant to write about looking too far ahead.
This summer, when COVID cases were relatively low, a few races near where I live offered registration for an in-person format, with remediation measures firmly in place.
During this time, I registered for CJ’s Resolution Challenge, a three-hour timed trail race held in a state park in Central Pennsylvania.
That was when the limit for outdoor in-person gatherings was 200. It has since been reduced to 50.
CJ’s, of course, must now decide whether to try to reschedule, have only a virtual option, or reduce the time of the race from three hours to one and schedule 38 runners at a time for one-hour time slots. (The remaining 12 slots are for volunteers and race timers.)
I am disappointed, but I am absolutely sympathetic to the race director’s plight.
I think by not wearing masks, not social distancing, and getting together with friends and family at will, we are shooting ourselves in our collective foot. We are prolonging the misery of the pandemic longer than necessary.
Soapbox rant over.
You can find the places I link up here.