Yes, that's what I said. Today, two days before Christmas, I have a GUEST BLOGGER. Every Christmas season one of my grand children, in this case a grand son, comes to visit. He is a "City Boy" and living in LA at the age of seven (then not now), does not have the freedom I had when I was growing up. Since we live in a gated community and have a somewhat sane group of seniors, we have quite a bit of freedom for him.
In anticipation of this years visit he wrote this story of a previous visit for his English Class at his school. (It hasn't been corrected yet!) Without further ado I present My Guest Blogger. (He is now 12 years old.)
FREEDOM - 2005
BY STEWART E. SMITH
Chapter 1 - Into the Resort
Every December, my parents and I take an eight hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona to meet with up our relatives. We go to my Aunt Patty and Uncle Chris’ House, and spend Christmas time there. Mainly, it’s my Mom’s side of the family, but it makes up for both sides! There’s Uncle Dan, Uncle Rob, Uncle Pat, Uncle John, Uncle Chris, Aunt Patty, Aunt Amy, Aunt Buffy, Grandma Mary Kay, Grandpa Bruce, and cousins Kenny, Kellen, Caidan, Paul, Patrick, Ian, Meghan Stewart, and Maegan Rennie! To name a few!
So, we’ll rock around the Christmas tree for a few days, and then everyone will start to go home. Not us, though, as we have one last stop. We go with our Grandma and Grandpa down to their home in Happy Trails Resort. Happy Trails is a nice place. It basically is a large group of block clusters connected by a primary road of the same name.
This story follows my adventure, the first time I went there. I was seven years old, in the back seat of our car, with my nose buried in my Game Boy. I was playing Pokémon Crystal, an old game. Mom and Dad were talking parent gibberish about the economy and such.
“We’re here,” Dad said. We pulled into the driveway as he whistled softly, then proclaimed, “The eagle has landed,” as he always did.
“Come on, Stewart, get out,” Mom said, holding open the door.
“Hang on a second, Mom, I’m almost finished…”
“Get out, sweetie.”
“Look, I’m just defeating this monster! Look at his HP here, I just need to launch an Ember attack and use a Pokeball on it!” Funny, how I was talking gibberish. She snatched away my Game Boy. “Aw, come on! I was just about to save,” I complained.
We walked up to the door and knocked. My grandparents greeted us, and we entered. I explored the house for a bit, but soon got bored. It was a small house, connected to a small mobile home. “What am I supposed to do?” I moaned.
My family eventually got sick of me. “JUST GO OUTSIDE,” Grandpa shouted. Grandpa has a temper.
“Where do ... where do I go in this small house?” I asked. Grandpa looked at me in disbelief.
“Who said you’re confined to your house at this age?” he said.
I was surprised as well! I had always been held back from roaming alone. Then again, I was a big city kid. So, naturally, I became excited at this opportunity. I ran for my parents, who prepared a rules briefing.
“Alright, Stew, if you want to roam, you’ll have to follow the rules!” My mother started. “Number 1: Don’t talk to strangers. Number 2: Look both ways. Number 3…” I dozed off a bit there. “…Number 42, The MOST important rule: Do NOT pass Happy Trails Ave.!” Well, I understood. Doing so would mean I could leave our block cluster.
“Here is a map and my cell phone. Well, I think we’re done here,” my mom wrapped up, and off I went into the resort!
Chapter 2 – Freedom… But Where?
I was alone in the world. This felt great! No dependencies, no rules… I was finally free! I had brought along my scooter as well. The only thing about using a small scooter on a minor road in a minor resort that probably doesn’t get much maintenance is the bumps!!! Honestly, I probably wear glasses now because I got used to the motion blur! There were also these odd sprinkler-head things in the road every now and then, so I kept falling over. Who puts a sprinkler head in the middle of an asphalt road?
I decided to circle my block cluster a few times. I looked around. Happy Trails was a nice place. Very sunny and beautiful. The houses were arranged in neat rows, and you just felt wonderful in that nice community. Also, I think I saw a blue mailbox once! I eventually reached a strange area. It was a Y-Shaped intersection. There weren’t any Y-Shaped intersections in our cluster. I examined the map. I couldn’t find the street I was on.
Yes, I was now officially lost. I was in a random place somewhere. It could be anywhere. I tried retracing my steps, but I couldn’t figure out which way I came from. So I wandered through the resort, trying to think. Then I remembered that my parents had planned for this… Bless their souls! I pulled out Mom’s phone. I quickly flipped it open. I hit a few buttons. Nothing happened. So apparently, Mom forgot to charge it. Way to go for the emergency plan, huh, Mom? I sat down on the curb. I lay back. I had to face it, I was lost. I was as lost as Dick Cheney at a rap concert. I was as lost as Steve Jobs at an Adobe Flash Convention. I was, as I’ve stated, VERY lost.
I decided to ask for help from someone. As I walked up to the patio, I saw a sign along the lines of: MR. AND MRS. KNOKSON 298 WINSLOW DRIVE, HAPPY TRAILS
Wait, I was still in Happy Trails? How could this be if I couldn’t find the street? I decided to look at the map again, more closely this time. I still couldn’t find the street… Then all of a sudden I understood. I realized that I was metaphorically holding the map upside-down. I also realized I was physically holding the map upside-down.
Chapter 3 - My Mistake
When I was 7 years old, I didn’t exactly understand the concept of maps. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to turn the map based on how I moved. Therefore, my confused self had completely messed up my route. I hadn’t gone around my block cluster, but I had accidentally crossed Happy Trails and wandered to the northwest of the resort. The reason I couldn’t locate my street on the map was because my focus was inside my block cluster. With my new knowledge, I quickly located my street.
By now, however, I was really tired and lazy. I just wanted to get home. I started on my way, but I was too exhausted to continue. Just then a resort police car came along. I acted as pitifully as I could, and he took me back to my Grandparent’s.
As we headed off into the world, only one thing was on my 7-year old mind… I GOTTA RIDE IN A COP CAR!!!! That’s the fantasy of every little kid, isn’t it?
Moral: Be sure to hold the map the right way around before going off adventuring!
|Stewart ready for FREEDOM 2010|
Photo Courtesy Paul Smith