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If you ask me, the kids of today are just fine

Published: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 11:38 a.m. CDT

I have a pretty good relationship with my neighborhood kids. In fact, I’ve let them build a club house in the far corner of my property.

They call it Black Feather, and it has some interesting accouterments: a tree house, a porch swing attached to a tree limb, a rope making apparatus they designed themselves, and a mailbox so they can pass messages to me, and I to them.

I leave them alone when they’re in their clubhouse. Kids are a lot more creative when adults aren’t around.

I’ve overheard them discussing a zip line from an outside tree to their tree house. Are they going to get hurt? Sure. Kids get hurt, it’s part of growing up. Are their parents going to sue? Not these parents.

My backyard is semi-private, with plenty of trees. Birds, squirrels, and an occasional fox frequent the area. I told myself I wasn’t going to feed the birds and squirrels. It’s too expensive and they just make a mess.

However, Cooper, one of the Black Feather gang of four, decided I needed a squirrel feeder. He took it upon himself to pound two boards together, drive a nail through one board, and with his parents’ cordless drill, attach the squirrel feeder to a tree facing my back picture window. The gang of four even supplied the first ear of corn.

The squirrels cleaned off the ear of corn in no time. I did enjoy watching them. Then the kernelless cob hung there for a week, a symbol of neglect.

I caved in and bought a bag of ear corn. I now have great entertainment watching the squirrels (boy, are they getting fat), cardinals and wood peckers feed around the feeder. 

On our morning walks, it is Holly Dog’s and my responsibility to replenish the ear corn. For a man who wasn’t going to feed the squirrels and birds, I sure have a good time doing it. All because of neighborhood kids.

One day my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, there was no one there. I heard giggles going around the side of the house. Yep, it was the gang of four, up to tricks.

They appeared and presented me with a hand written invitation to their website. A website!

Lindsey, an eighth grader, is the oldest of this crew, and they had created a website. Guess what it is called—Blackfeather. Go to www.blackfeather124.weebly.com to see it.

The kids have pictures on their website, a blog, a video, a survey and, heavens to Betsy, a link to my website. I spent weeks creating my website that doesn’t have near the bells and whistles. 

I also pay ten bucks a month for it. These kids popped one out for free.

Remember the old days when adults taught kids how to do things?

Cooper also plays hockey. His dad is one of the coaches. I had never been to a hockey game. The kids have to go all the way to Iowa City to play, not to mention practicing twice a week. I found out what time he was playing, and Mary and I went to one of Cooper’s matches.

It was a Sunday morning, and a good excuse to go to Coral Ridge Mall where the ice rink is. Cooper is a good head taller than most of his teammates. I watched him take shot after shot, and then, late in the third period, slap! 

He scored from 30 feet out. His team, the Blizzards, won 8 – 1. Impressive.

There’s nothing wrong with kids today.

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