Last week while driving around town, I nearly wrecked the car when I saw a couple of young children playing softball on a vacant lot. The ball and bat were much in use, and a lot of running was going on. Laughter was most pleasant to hear as the batter would miss the ball or hit it over the pitcher's head so he would have to run a distance to retrieve it.
I rolled down the window in order to hear that laughter and the shouts between the two as they were having such fun. As I drove on by, I considered the scene and thought about how usual such a scene would have been just a few years ago. I probably wouldn't have even paid much attention because a similar one would be seen at the next vacant lot.
Just hearing children's laughter is a major treat today. Rarely do we hear much because they are seldom outside and are even more rarely seen playing games on those vacant lots. I often wonder if much laughter goes on indoors while they are playing their electronic games and avoiding talking. Do they ever fall over in fits of giggles?
Yes, children are often involved with organized games, such as little league baseball, but that organization limits the freedom to express their joy at playing all sorts of games. Those organized games become too serious because strict rules must be followed, and parents become even more serious if they don't agree with the umpires and referees. As a result, the children's games become games ruled by adults.
On occasion, I notice a few young ones playing basketball in their driveways, but I don't see many other games played freely as they once were. Perhaps, children just don't enjoy activity as much as we once did. Most of us hurried to finish our chores so we could be free for a few hours to play with our friends. We knew we were safe because some parents usually were well aware of where we were and what we were doing. They watched over us without interfering in our freedom.
When we weren't climbing trees, we were skating on sidewalks, playing hide and seek, jumping ropes, and just running from place to place while racing with each other. The courthouse lawn was often filled with youngsters as we played all around. Those wide sidewalks were ideal for skating. The office holders did not seem to mind our laughter or our racing inside to get drinks of water. They also reported to parents in the event we managed to fall and skin our knees or hurts ourselves even more seriously. I wonder how the officers would react to the shock of such noise today. Just imagine hearing the echoes of children's laughter in those marble halls. Probably more than parents would be called to stop the interruptions.
Let's hope young ones re-discover the joys of playing just for the fun of playing.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 461-1952.