Fifty years ago children played outside a lot especially on warm summer evenings as the darkness was beginning to fall. They played “Kick the Can,” “Tag,” “Statue” and “Hide and Seek.” They ran through the neighborhood screaming and yelling, “You’re it.” Inevitably someone’s mother would call out, “Time for baths.” Baths? Why would anyone want to wash off the salty sweat mixed with the day’s dust? That was the tattoo of an evening’s fun.

So it was when three grandchildren came to visit. They wanted to play and grandpa suggested “Tag.” They had a better idea. Off they ran for the Monopoly game to get the money. “Let’s play “Charity,” grandpa,” they yelled. “Grandpa, you be the poor man and we will give you money.” In the next few minutes the three grandchildren invented all kinds of ways to help imaginary people in need as they ran from “place to place and person to person”

Grandpa had learned a new game. He liked the game. When he was a boy it was “Cops and Robbers.” He liked “Charity.” Perhaps the world would be a better place if all children played “Charity” instead of “Cops and Robbers.”

Written January 26, 2003