Where I’m from, a sandbox defined your economic status.
A tractor tire laying flat on leveled turf under a young maple tree. The tree is older than me, so it’s enormous. Being seven most everything is enormous. My sisters are younger and smaller. Kimmy the littlest, stands next to Cindy the middlest, watching dad fill the tractor tire with new brown sand. I’m helping him. The sand is cold. It feels almost wet, but not. I fill my yellow shovel from the pile to pour it over the edge of the tire. Dad uses his shovel to do the same. His shovel is enormous.
We shovel. Dad levels the sand in the middle of the tractor tire. We shovel some more. Cindy and Kimmy get bored and go back into the house. I hear their stomping running feet go up the four wooden steps of the back covered porch, the screen door slams. They aren’t supposed to do any of that.
“Girls! Stop slamming doors!” Mom is in the kitchen looking out the window. She sees all.
Spring air rushes around everything I see. Maple tree leaves rustle and shimmer. I shovel. Robins in the maple tree hop to the very top. They want to watch, but they don’t want to get caught I guess. The pile of sand is growing inside the tractor tire. The pile outside is small now and dad skims it up. I skim with my shovel like him.
“Kathy, why don’t you go into the house and get your sandbox toys.”
“Can I get my Hot Wheels cars and trucks?” Because I can already imagine the roads that need building.
“Yes, you can.”
I run stomping up the wooden steps of the covered deck dad built before making the sandbox. The screen door slams behind me.
“Kathy. Please don’t slam that screen door.”
“Sorry, mom. Dad says I can get toys now.” My sisters run past me back outside. The screen door slams. Mom exhales a big slow mom breath. A skill I’ll learn sixteen years into the future.
My friend Debbie has a sandbox that isn’t a box. It’s behind her house under an enormous pine tree. It’s sand in a big hole. Which is easier to play in because there isn’t a tractor tire in the way. But you have to pick out all the pine needles first sometimes.