It’s good to be 12

Adult life isn’t very playful, so if you’re looking to give up some tedious responsibilities, why not hang out with a 12-year-old for a day?
I’m slightly worn out after doing just that with my nephew, who believes you have the most fun when “you’re in a place without walls.”
That’s why we decided to snowmobile to “Hangman’s Creek” on the outskirts of Emo. Most people who grew up nearby know the place, but if you don’t, then maybe its name will give you a clue about what it’s like.
What kids like doing most at Hangman’s is “bank banging.” They buzz around on the twisty hills on snowmobiles that turn like spin tops.
So, of course, my nephew and I tried to do the same thing. And even though he doesn’t own his own machine (he’s still begging), he’s a heck of a good driver.
I, on the other hand, need to lean and focus with all my might to keep my gigantic four-stroke from running off the rails. And (of course) I do eventually get stuck, which gets me going on the excuses.
“The ground here is like plowing over a marshmallow,” I told my nephew. “When this lug is buried, it’s like moving a dead cow.”
At least I can beat the kid at my use of figurative language.
After all my muttering, we did get the machine out, however. And then I suggested a different activity—finding a fort which my nephew helped to build with his friends.
This meant wading through a maze of thickets and snow up to our waists, which sounds bad but actually it brings me back to the imaginations of childhood. I even start to hum a very corny song.
“Davy . . . Davy Crockett . . . Exploring the Great Frontier.”
But the song didn’t last. Because once we reached the hideaway, I started to dream about cookies—and suggested we go home for a few.
Maybe my new theme song should be “Betty . . . Betty Crocker . . . Exploring a plate full of chocolate.”
So then we sledded back to his house and kicked back. His parents were out of town, which meant we could fill up on the cookies until we found time to enjoy a proper meal later.
And I introduced one more activity. One I justified by believing it will greatly improve his literacy skills–opening the computer to the recreational vehicle section of Craigslist.
It was full of “great deals” on sleds that are “almost new.”
And sure enough, out came the paper and pencil. My nephew was writing all kinds of information, including dozens of phone numbers his dad could call later.
He was thoughtful about it, too. He picked out some zippy two-strokes he can use to trail blaze for his family. And he picked out a big machine his mom, dad, and older brother can share while riding the snow pack he leaves behind.
We bantered for a while about the different snowmachines. And he asked me my opinion about a few things, which, quite frankly, I didn’t have a clue about.
But, I enjoyed my day as a 12-year-old. Especially since I know his parents deal with all the real responsibilities.
For me, it’s about time together. And it’s about having a whole lot of fun.

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