Par For The Course


Under a clearance sign at the big box hardware were prepackaged building projects for kids. Graphics on the boxes showed well-groomed boys holding hammers. The product had been deeply discounted. Happily there were three models, a windmill, a tunnel and a 4-sided ramp, the makings of your own private miniature golf course. I could hardly wait to visit the grandkids next weekend.

We should do this out in the fresh air, eh? The kids opened the boxes and wooden triangles scattered. Before I could say don’t open the hardware pack… one child had ripped open the bag of screws. A few landed on the table. Each had a single sheet of directions, a paper that unfolded to the size of a road map. Despite illustrations, several steps involved deductive reasoning. One of the boys has figured out that the dowel goes with the piece that looks like a shoe and is whacking his golf ball (included) across the yard.

What number step are you on Markie? Uh, I don’t know. He’s clapping wooden triangles together trying to smash a mosquito. I’m not one of those parents who expects a kid to sit down and read the instruction manual and maybe take a quiz before she’s allowed to unpack a new Christmas toy. I was just hoping that at least one of the children would notice how satisfying it is to turn the screwdriver and feel the threads bite the wood.

Of course what really matters is the bonding. Of which we’ve experienced a lot what with the large bottle of wood glue we’ve shared. When we’re finished, the kids spend 4 ½ minutes at their hand-built miniature golf course before they take off on their bikes. I yell after them, “Don’t forget about the tree house we’re going to build this summer!”

(photo courtesy of Nattavut/