Here is a great photo of my Dad, myself and my Mom. Taken in 1967, the background shows what I believe is Weed Park in Muscatine, Iowa. If you look carefully in the background, there is the Mississippi River.
Weed Park was a fantastic place of wonderment, adventure, freedom and pure terror. Back in the days when less attention was paid to what the kids were doing, we would roam the park from North to South, East to West. Sometimes we would sneak away to a small spillway and play "Fort."
The "Barrel of Fun" ride was not really a barrel and really never much fun. It was a large wooden cylinder made of 2-by-4s, in this 'house,' constructed so people (and some very unhappy kids) could walk into this cylinder and spin it. Even at the time, all I could think was, "How much fun could one have running in a human-sized hamster wheel?"
Then there was an item of pure terror; four corrugated pipes, intersecting at 90 degrees in the center, in an "X" shape. On top of this was a large mound of dirt. This contraption, obviously constructed by the devil himself, cause unimaginable nightmares. Inside the pipes, constructed so the hapless children could crawl through, never to be seen again, the atmosphere was cool and dank and smelled of a cacophony of biologic and bodily fluids. Even at the manly age of eleven, I would run away when one of my older playmates would try forcing me in one of those gateways to the netherworld.
Of course, it was a relatively harmless contraption for the day. I still firmly believe the devil himself constructed it, and will discuss it no further. :-D
As an adult I truly try living without regrets. The mistakes made are learning tools. The mistake is recognized, precursors and causes identified and analyzed, apologies given where necessary, and I move on.
It was 1982 in Weed Park. On this sunny summer afternoon my girlfriend and I were out enjoying the day while most of my family were under a shelter, visiting and catching up with everyone's news.
We came back to the shelter for some tea after a long walk, when my Dad (picturedabove) made a snide comment about my long hair. Mind you, my "long" hair did not even cover my ears. What the comment was, I do not recall. For all that matters, it could have been a relatively minor jab, not really intent on injury.
I left the house within a few weeks.
Here in Weed Park, a decision was made, a mistake. Two years later the mistake was recognized, the precursors and causes identified and analyzed. There could be no apology given. The farm was gone, and my father as well. The family farm was sold just weeks before he passed in 1983. Dad, may you rest in peace. I will always be your "Lil Slugger."
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