My grandson Drew and I hiked across grass and dirt until we came to a paved street. Drew is ten and I have been. In fact, I have been ten multiple times. Our dogs Ginger (sixty-five) and Cocoa (fifteen) led the way on our adventure. Eventually, we came to the end of the road. The pavement ran out and after a short while on dirt, the mountain loomed before us. It is our favorite spot that we’ve visited many times before. Drew shouted, “We’ve got to climb it, Daddy Bill! The enemy is right behind us!” Since we had scaled to its top more than once before, we knew the best route. The left side is almost straight up and covered with slick grass. The backside has rocks and dirt but is just as steep. The front side has several flat landing spots and lots of good sized rocks to assist with our footing. Since Ginger and Cocoa both have four-foot drive, they easily ascended to the top before us. They sniffed out those who had been there. I only have two-leg drive, aided by a big hiking stick. Drew has ten-year old legs, so he doesn’t need a stick. Once we reached the top, I proudly proclaimed, “We are kings of the mountain and the enemy can’t pull us down!” I laughed and told Drew, “You know, I really am King of the mountain. My last name is King, and I grew up on Sand Mountain!” He rolled his eyes and said, “Daddy Bill.”
I guess as long as there have been children; children have played games (even senior-adult children). What has changed is the type of games most children play. The games I played when growing up are quite different from the ones Drew and his generation usually play. Their games often involve a cell phone, iPad, or computer. He loves to go hunt Pokemon. We used to go hunt for snipes. Drew is much more successful at finding Pokemon than we were at capturing the elusive snipe. I grew up fishing, swimming, shooting cap guns and B.B. guns. Much to my delight, Drew will gladly put down his computer games for a chance to go play outside... even with an old grandpa!
A new subdivision is being built directly beside ours. They have cleared out the woods Drew and I used to romp through. They have filled in a huge gulley with dirt they hauled in. They’ve built and paved streets and now new houses are seemingly springing up out of the ground like rows of spring corn. We were saddened to lose our nature-area there, although we still have one behind my house. A newly constructed playground with slides and swings sets near the front entrance of the new subdivision. Drew and I both believe we are too old for that playground but not for the newly formed mountain at the backside of the new neighborhood. To call it a mountain might be a bit of a stretch, but the builders have dumped dirt there that has created a hill that’s probably forty yards by thirty and fifteen to twenty feet high. A couple of years ago, I stood at the base of El Capitan in California and wondered why or how anyone would climb that thing. I’m sure the view from the top is beautiful, but the view from the top of mine and Drew’s mountain is not bad. Even with the new construction, I could still see God’s handiwork from there. As I looked over at Drew, and even Sixty-five and Fifteen, I realized how blessed I am. I felt like I really was King of the mountain!
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.