Monast Law Office - June 2018

Workers’ COMPanion

LAW OFFICE MONAST

JUNE 2018

www.monastlaw.com | 614-334-4649 | 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd. Bldg 2, Suite 2117, Upper Arlington, OH 43220-2913

‘THE BAJA’ AND SUMMER BREAK MEMORIES OF A SCHOOL-FREE SEASON

Growing up in Joplin, Missouri, there was nothing better than summer break. Though we had baseball practice and whatever activities we were doing through the Boys’ Club and the YMCA, we spent every other moment during those hot months in blissful, total freedom. From dawn until dinnertime, my pals and I would amble around the neighborhood, on the hunt for new kinds of trouble to get ourselves into. Of course, this is when playgrounds still had jungle gyms and kids were told to“go out and play and don’t come back until dinner!” Most of that trouble was bike-based. If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book“IT”by Stephen King, you can picture it: a band of rambunctious, sarcastic boys zooming around town on these old Schwinn Stingray bikes, constantly on the lookout for new adventures —except, you know, without the supernatural, evil clown looming in the darkness. But we had a place like what the kids in the story call“The Barrens”down the street, a sprawling, 150-plus acres of undeveloped land that served as paradise for our gang of rowdy kids. “We’d come flying over these curated slopes and launch into the air, coming down to Earth just before a sheer 15- to 20-foot drop down to the roadway.” The best part of this spot was what we dubbed“The Baja,”a bike track we spent hours shaping out of the dirt. We’d come flying over these curated slopes and launch into the air, coming down to Earth just before a sheer 15- to 20-foot drop down to the roadway. Over the years, the track became more elaborate, incorporating wooden ramps and more twists and turns than ever. And when the rain would pour down and flood the land, it turned into a full Tom Sawyer experience, hunting down fat bullfrogs and box turtles, examining the guts of run-over snakes on the side of the road, and cruising at top speed through the

mud, muck, and woodlands, howling with glee while we got soaked. We were kings of our world.

Of course, it’s all fun and games for kids until someone gets hurt. I remember one day when my sister Kathy, nine years older than me, had the“thrill” of babysitting me while my momwas at work. She had her good friend Pam over, and they walked out to the local

McDonald’s about a mile away. Well, while they were gone, my buddy and I played two-man hide-and-seek, which you wouldn’t think would be too dangerous — that is, until my friend got stuck in my parents’ shower and we couldn’t get the door open to save our

lives. To escape, he accidentally smashed his arm all the way through the glass door, slicing his arm open big-time. It looked like an abattoir in there until my sister got home and hollered for the adults to take my friend to the hospital. Thankfully, he was fine after they stitched him up, but ended up with a really cool scar. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine the level of freedom that summer vacation afforded us kids. Obviously, we took it all for granted, though I’m pretty sure we never wasted a second anyway. Instead, we wrung fun out of every spare moment, racing the clock to do as much as possible before we were herded back into the classroom. –Jim Monast

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