#ThingsThatMatter Playing Outside


This is a picture of a tree where I grew up. Nestled in the wild woods where trees grew crooked and a creek flowed under the railroad tracks to the local lake.  Hanging out in these woods gave us a good cover to play without the scrutiny of our parents. We hammered thin chains using rail road spikes from the near by train tracks. The chains were rusted and just wide enough on each loop for our feet to adventure to its towering limbs. We would eat crackers sitting high up in the tree and watch commuters whistle by on the train.  All those suit wearing robots on their way to the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago.

Growing up we didn’t have cell phones, computers and an endless supply of toys. We didn’t need them. Probably wouldn’t want them if they were easily available. When a friend of mine wanted to play or see me they knocked on the door.  This was acceptable.

In the summer when the sun rose after we cleaned up and ate breakfast we were expected to leave the house. We wanted to leave the house. Go play outside.

Every day was a new adventure. We were never bored.  We rode our bikes to the lake, went swimming, played basketball, baseball or football at the park. We shot our bb guns and sling shots. These were just all things that boys did.

Always home by time the street lights came on, only anxious to be able to do it all over again.


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