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January 02, 2012


It's the stuff of everyday life that reveals character. Tells you what they're made of, what may become.

I'm pretty sure that our 13-year-old neighbor "Anne" is going to do well. And she'll certainly be welcomed to any of our activities that interest her.

Anne is an active girl, interested in soccer and such. Even more, I think, in to frog and snake hunting, riding bikes, and jumping on the trampoline with my crew. Last fall she almost landed a flat ground front flip and biked a 10-step drop like it was no big deal.

This is why we couldn't wait to bring her along to Bounce Fun Plex last month. She regretted to miss it, already having plans for that day. But finally last Friday, after constantly hearing about the Bounce, she would join us in the hour long trip to Selinsgrove. We walked through the doors and signed waivers as the workers slapped on wrist bands. Kids big and small kicked off shoes and socks and sprinted to the trampolines.

But wait, what was that? Anne can't jump? Yes, I have her parents permission. Yes, I would sign her waiver. But you need a parental signature or she can't jump?

Anne and I stood there in disbelief, nearly frozen by the cold faced scowl of the manager, which gave no indication of turning her back on the policy. That moment hung for hours, Anne and I listening to giddy shrieks and laughter, the trampoline side walls revealing silhouettes of people leaping like they're du, du, du, du, du-dumb.

I thought of my three young boys, including one 4-year old, tangled up somewhere in that mess of the near weightless joy. So I told Anne that I was about to go jump a bit, then we could play some video games or get food while we wait.

Would Anne whine around or run outside in tears? Would she do the passive aggressive pout? I mean, she is a teenage girl. Would she take the 100% legitimate frustration out on the manager or the event planner who didn't call ahead or even consider such things?

While we were jumping, Anne went to the food stand and bought three packs of skittles, one for each of her three young friends. She picked up her waiver forms to take home, said she would be ready for next time. Anne knows me to well, eager for an excuse to "take the kids" back to Bounce Plex.

That's why I think that Anne is going to do pretty well for herself and for others in this world. I mean that in the broadest sense possible.

And with the small amount of time and authority that is given me, I say that there will be a next time.

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