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Monday, October 24, 2011

A Sidewalk Chalk Story

It's 4:20 am and like any respectable empty nest parent, I am WIDE awake and looking for things to do.  Yes, unfortunately I have fallen back into the 3-5 am wake up pattern my body seems to love so much.  So, tonight, I have stumbled into one of my children empty rooms to organize............there's always a corner or closet that needs help.  Laura's room is no exception. 

The corner behind her guest day bed is a treasure trove worth of items to organize........I discover a new purse she's never, ever going to use.......I will take it to Goodwill.  There are Christmas balls left over from when she decorated her room from last Christmas...............I will move them into the garage with all the other holiday decorations.  And then I see an odd looking white plastic bag.  It holds  a collection of sidewalk chalk.  The bag is tattered from all the years she would drag the bag out to the driveway to create her masterpieces.  Her sidewalk chalk was probably her favorite playtime activity from ages 4-8.  She's now 21, so who knows why this bag is sitting lodged in the corner of her room now.  I open it up and discover there are at least 12 different pieces in a variety of colors and lengths.  I can see that blue was her favorite because they are the most worn.  She loved the ocean even back then and many a night I would come home from work only to find waves and a beach welcoming me.

I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic nanny who was artistically talented.  Being artistically challenged (remind me to tell you about this weekend's craft project and the kitchen chairs.....), I really appreciated Darcy covering me in the arts projects!  The sidewalk chalk was used to create whole villages or beach scenes and once I arrived home to find the whole Phoenix Suns team laying on my driveway. But my most favorite sidewalk chalk story came on a weekend some 16 years ago......................

I was dating Bill #2....(now husband) and he was extremely helpful around my house.  I lived in a wonderful neighborhood called Arcadia and I had a charming house.  And when I say charming, I mean falling apart.  The windows needed to be replaced.  The carpet was getting dingy and the cedar roof was leaking and would soon need replacing....(hence, the move to North Scottsdale).  It was a beautiful Fall day, and we were all busy doing projects outside around the house.  The boys were playing next door as was often the case when work outdoors was being done.  But Laura was tagging along "helping" us with the weekend chores.  I had decided to tackle the gigantic oleander bush along the side of the house and along the street.  I suggested that during this task it would be best if Laura followed Bill around for awhile.  Bill decided that he needed to do some work on the roof along the edges.  It was a one story home but the roof was filled with branches and debris from the large trees on the property.  Laura followed him along the grass and talked to him as he worked....sidewalk chalk in hand. 

Now, as the story goes, somehow Bill managed to fall off the roof and knocked the wind out of himself.  He landed about 3 feet from where Laura was playing.  She ran over to him and said, "Hey, Bill, what are you doing" answer......"are you okay?" answer..........."are you dead?".......Bill attempt to muster an answer, but he is in pain and cannot seem to speak........."because if you are dead, I will write your name on the wall with my sidewalk chalk!"  She proceeds to get up and start writing 'BILL' on the brick siding of the house.  Bill looks up and with a grin on his face, says, "I'm not dead Laura, come help me up!"

If you are a parent of young children, I highly recommend you go get some sidewalk chalk.  Sure your driveway will be a mess 90% of the time, but it is so worth it!  And I am ready to go back to bed now, but I decide I should take this chalk down to our great nephew's house so he can make a mess of his Mom's or Grandmom's driveway.  I also think I will save the largest blue piece of chalk to keep in Laura's room.............

(I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month)

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Anonymous Dallas interactive marketing said...

Nice story and an intriguing title. I hope I can write one like this.

October 24, 2011 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Debi - The Romantic Vineyard said...

What an endearing story. Thank you for sharing - although I don't thank you for having to be up from 3 - 5a. to write it. :-( I pray you get some rest!

October 24, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Ali Bierman said...

Thanks for sharing this lovely piece, Beth. AS I walked around the park the other day, in the area by the climbing toys and swings, there on the sidewalk was a huge"canvas" done in sidewalk chalk. I paused and smiled.

October 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story, and yes I still do play with chalk even if I am 21!

October 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM  

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