Friendship is as friendship does

Kos-Danchak Aug 2020

We have a story on page 48 extolling the greatness of the splash pad. In fact, it notes just how great the ones in our own backyard are – and lists some of the amenities just to support the premise.

  What it doesn’t do, however, is examine in detail the principals who make the splash pad great. So I’m going to do that.

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  Not long ago, I took my 5-year-old grandson to a local water wonderland and told him, in essence, to “have at it.” Little did I know at the time that the “it” would evolve into one of the better lessons I have ever learned.

  It was early in the day, so my offspring’s offspring was among the initial visitors to dip a toe in the water, so to speak. Maddox was so eager to soak his drawers that he made a dash toward one of the water-dispensing devices – the only one that was being utilized by another child at the time.

  “Hi,” he said to said kid. “My name is Maddox. Do you want to be my friend?”

  The other splash padder responded thusly: “Yes, I want to be your friend.”

  And, like that, they were friends for the better part of an hour, after which his new buddy had to leave, after which Maddox approached another child and said, “My name is Maddox. Do you want to be my friend?,” after which another friendship was born.

  I share this recollection because it opened my eyes to a realm I haven’t explored, probably since I was five. And here’s how wide they were opened: As I escorted my grandson with two new friends back to the car following this mutually beneficial endeavor, I wondered at which point did making friends cease to be that simple.

  Some six decades have passed since I asked the first kid I saw at the playground if he wanted to be my friend, and I’m ashamed to admit that if I were to have met you prior to my trip to the splash pad with my grandson, the prospect that we would become buddies would depend on, to some degree, how you voted in the last election, what part of town in which you live, what school mascot you have on your shirt, and what church you attend, if you even attend church.

  Meanwhile, Maddox has absolutely nothing about which to be ashamed.

  He has two new friends. He will have at least two more following our next excursion to splashland.

  He also will have a grandfather who, because of a 5-year-old’s example, will try to be a better maker of friends in the future.

  I’d like to start doing that here.

  My name is Yale. Do you want to be my friend?

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