Backyard Becomes Disaster Scene


I have learned in five years that it doesn’t take a lot to make me smile when it comes to grandchildren. Just about everything they do is amusing and brings a smile. That is why a scene I discovered recently made me laugh out loud despite the mess I had to clean up.

I set about the task of removing water from the sandbox my granddaughter enjoys so much, always wanting to be ready just in case she stops by. The sandbox is usually her first stop, after first making sure our four-legged friend is still in good condition and making sure Gamma and Gampa are properly hugged.

What I found on a regular patrol at our mini beach in a box in the backyard was interesting to say the least. It brought a smile to this gampa.

My first reaction on first look was to find something for Barbie to cover herself with. Apparently, our sand became a French beach since our granddaughters last visit. Bathing attire was obviously optional.

Barbie, one of her many sisters and Ken were lying their with only the suit God gave them to protect them from the August sun.

All were nearly fully submerged with muddy water giving them their only protection of privacy. I guess good for then their faces were out of the water, preventing an even worse tragedy.

Ken had a leg positioned in a way that had to be painful, literally wrapped around the back of his head. Barbie’s hair had more water in it than even the best hair dryer could remove. Not to mention several weeks of rain-soaked sand mixed in.

I also found multiple accident scenes among the water, sand and mud. What my generation called Hot Wheels cars were in all degrees of disrepair. Wheels were off, cars were filled with water and mud and little plastic windshields were shattered in several places.

The toy animals that often enjoy the sand with my granddaughter didn’t escape the misery. One poor stuffed monkey lost an eye in the mayhem. I think that could be blamed on the previously mentioned dog.

Deep within the mess were Easter eggs. They were innocently hidden in the sand during our regular hunt, only to be submerged with inches of rain from recent days.

Finding lost eggs is not a new thing. Hosting a family Easter egg hunt has become an annual tradition for my wife. Finding eggs months, or maybe even years later is now a tradition for me. Usually they are in a thousand pieces coming out of a lawn mower shoot.

I think the lesson I learned in my cleanup operation is that I should appreciate the imagination of a 5-year-old.

All of the toys in the sandbox have helped her occupy hours of time as in her mind she created assorted scenarios.

Many times I have seen her creating full conversations between Barbie and Ken or practicing off-roading skills with those miniature cars. I suspect the eggs that were hidden by her after she found them in another location in the yard. We wouldn’t want our friends in the sandbox missing out on the Easter fun. She seems to have as much fun hiding the eggs as she does finding them.

My goal should be to learn from her and have a little imagination of my own from time to time. It might make the realities of this world we live in a little easier.

Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or


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