Monday, July 30, 2012
yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
some things never get old. some things are always fun.
when little amelia comes to visit, the first toys she usually pulls out of the toy basket are the baby-hand size, square duplo blocks. she loves to click them together into tall, wobbly towers and take them apart again, one block at a time. my kids played with the same colorful plastic squares and rectangles she plays with—such sturdy and long-lasting toys, good stuff, these chunky danish blocks for toddlers.
we went to legoland in denmark when the kids were little and the opportunity presented itself. we'd always had a house full of legos, so what fun it was for them to walk through miniature lego villages and see those intricate plastic creations made entirely of snap together bricks, and then to drive a legoland car and get a legoland driver's license. that was the time we were visiting our danish friends and business associates who lived a short distance away from the theme park. (today their son, martin, actually works for lego.)
then there was the time the danes came over here, intent on heading into the wilds of maine. i remember when ed, city-boy bjorn, james, martin and a few other guys (including two more danes) went on a father/son, canoe/camping trip in "our" wilderness. that was the second time (the first one was also a maine canoe trip) and final time bjorn ever did anything quite as, shall i say, rustic and primitive as that in his life. (five days of no showers—but there was great swimming—no outhouses, and rough spots along the beautiful river, with just enough room under the trees for tents and a campfire, to call home for the night.) early in our marriage i also enjoyed doing this trip a few times, paddling along the remote west branch of the penobscot river and down wind-whipped chesuncook lake. i wonder why we could never get bjorn to set foot in the maine woods again. two visits that included roughing it were enough, i guess.
but back to the legos. james was addicted to legos and played with the smaller bricks until he was about eleven, building his way through the age levels, patiently putting together many boxes of intricate pirate and space and technic sets. once, when he was home from college, i looked wistfully into a box filled with the broken-apart, mixed-together colored bits of two wrecked pirate ships and asked him if he could please reconstruct them into their original glory. james was happy to do so. he rebuilt one ship (with hardly a glance at the instructions) and promised to do the other one soon. (that was almost ten years ago—i really need to get after him to rebuild the second one when he's home in maine.)
i like to look at the pirate ship, that remnant of fleeting years—complete with scruffy little eye-patched pirates ready to fire a canon or pistol in your face—from time to time. occasionally i run a dust cloth over it, but i quickly lose my patience. the spaces between the round connector bumps are impossible to get completely clean without picking at them for an hour with a Q-tip, or soaking the whole thing in water. (who the heck has time for that?) the pirate ship remains, as always, displayed on a shelf—dusty but intact—a relic from the past lives of children, a reminder of halcyon days spun from seemingly endless childhood.