I have just returned from a visit to my grandchildren in Florida. When I arrived there was the usual expected excitement. They had to accompany me to my room with the suitcases. (They know something is always in there for them.) When I unzipped the cases to unload the clothes, my granddaughter immediately grabs my Jammie's and gives them a sniff. A long deep sniff. I asked her if they were okay. She said, "I just had to smell them, they smell like your house."
Through the next days I noticed something else, everything she picked up she looked for a label. Reading the label she would say, "China" or "India" or whatever country's name was there. I didn't mention she is just six. She is very preoccupied with reading labels.
On the third day I was there She and her brother, who was eight years old yesterday, came in with horribly filthy hands. I said, "Where are you going?" as they ran by they hollered over their shoulder, "To wash our hands".
A few minutes later they asked if they could play next door. I said it was fine if their friends mom said it was okay. About 30 minutes later they ran in the front door with the 3 brothers from next door in tow.
"Baba, can we play here?" I said, "Sure, where's the fire?" my grandson replied, "Oh Baba, There's no fire, We are going to dig to China." (Baba is Grandmother in Russian)
"Where do you think you are going to dig."
"We already have a hole started".
"Show me where and I will tell you if it's okay."
They marched me outside and showed me where they had started digging. They had started a hole right in the middle of the drive way. I told them to fill it in and they could dig in the garden where the flowers had died. I also had the fore thought to tell them they couldn't put the dirt on the patio and it had to stay in a nice pile next to the hole. I figured two shovels and 5 kids under
Eight years old couldn't do too much damage. WRONG.
A few minutes later one of the boys came running in and headed to the play room, clods of dirt dropping off his jeans and shoes. (Dirt in Florida is black and almost all sand). I hollered, "Slow up, what do you need in here, there's no coming in with the dirt on you." He looked down at his feet and mumbled, "We need a ruler." I told him no problem but to come to the door and ask and I would get them what they needed. For the next two hours I heard only happy voices discussing the construction of a tunnel and how long it would take them to get there.
I went out the middle of the afternoon with two buckets of warm water, a bar of soap, a kitchen scrubby sponge and a towel. I set the buckets on the ice chest sitting on the porch, called the kids. They came over wondering what the buckets were for. I told them they were for hand washing for kids that wanted a Popsicle. They needed to line up with the person who had the cleanest hands first. I used one bucket to wash in and the other to dry in. The scrubby pad to scrub the ground in dirt off. Half way through, the middle child from next door says, "Is that how you did it in the olden days?"
I stifled a choking laugh and said, "Nope that's how I do it in these days when I don't want five sets of muddy shoes and hands running in to the bath room to wash." I was answered with a chorus of 5 "Oh yeah."
While they were consuming their treats they drug me over to the construction site, proudly showing me a hole that was 3 feet deep and 18 inches wide. The littlest one who is 4 asked me if I thought they would be to China by tomorrow.
Later on that night I told my grands that their Mom had tried to dig to china under my back porch. I had tried to dig to China in my sand box when I was 6. Their grandfather and his friends dug a hole so deep their moms couldn't see them from their windows. Their Great grandfather, who is still living. When He and his friends were 10 they went to a vacant lot and dug tunnels all one summer to take them to china. My grand son said, "No Way, he's too old"
I wonder how many tunnels were excavated by girls and boys for their dreams to travel through