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Redneck Park

While visiting my hometown yesterday with my boys, we went to a local park. The park is relatively new, and the playground structures are well chosen and well assembled. It’s a nice park.

At first, the only other visitors at the playground was a dad and his daughter. The dad had no wedding ring, it was a Sunday afternoon, and the way he and his daughter were playing suggested it was probably their visitation time (custody arrangement).

After they left, another dad arrived with two daughters and their friend. This dad, you probably had to see to “appreciate,” but let me try to describe him: He had bright, white, new sneakers; very tight blue jeans with his keys attached to a beltloop (no belt), so they jingled everytime he ran; a tight white tanktop showing his moderate beer gut and his multiple tattoos; dark black hair and mustache over a cigerette hanging from his mouth. His daugthers squealed in delight when he pushed them high on the swings. He’d rush forward, pushing them up over his head, and continuing his run under them and away. The girls reached a height of about eight feet and then dropped back down in a big jolt and swing. They loved it, and they were old enough to hold on tight through the ride. (Their friend, however, did not like it, so the dad let her swing by her own power.)

Then a big red pickup truck arrived with half a dozen kids in the back bed, clinging to the sides like a redneck school bus. One of the kids in the back of the truck was in a wheelchair, and when everyone dismounted, they all helped get him down together. All the kids were barefoot or in flip-flops. That group went in the park museum for a while. When they came back out after about half and hour, they all climbed back on the truck. Four of them sat down on the tailgate. The truck backed out of the dirt parking lot, turned, and headed out to the main road with the kids hanging on and laughing amid a cloud of dust.


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