The sandbox

i don’t know where the sand came from 

In Colreidge Nebraska in 1947.

I’m sitting now on the Oregon coast

Plenty of sand.

In order to maximize the sandbox experience:

• the sand had to have sufficient moisture to maintain integrity of community design.

• one needed an eclectic collection of vehicles that were close in scale to each other. Semi trucks were best.

• An assortment of building materials was helpful, such as wooden shingles for roofs, sticks for fence posts or telephone poles.

• A friend who had some time and an equally eclectic assortment of vehicles.

• a small hand garden spade or a big spoon for digging, grading, plating the streets and roads, and demarcating boundaries, though hands would do.

• the best roads wound over hill and dale. The best driveways were long and curved, unless it led to an underground garage, then short and direct was best.

The construction of the sand community took hours, days even, as long as no one, or no ones dog, went tramping through the sandbox.

Memories of this sandbox community still haunt me today 60+ years later.

– I watch semis back into loading bays carefully turning to back the trailer up just right to the door for unloading, just like I did with my toy semis in the sandbox.

– I watch double and/or triple trailers run down the interstate like mine did.

– I watch huge semis taking tight turns in the city and cutting it just right so as to not drive the rear wheels over the curb, as I did, pulling way out into the intersection as tragic would allow before cutting hard to the right to make the turn.

I see rural estates with the long swooping drive, out buildings, garages and lits of lawn, like mine.

I note which urban blocks have alleys that are wide enough for modest auto traffic.

I watch for culverts under the road like the ones I built with empty toilet paper rolls or frozen orange juice containers.

The biggest enemy to these carefully constructed sandbox communities? Rain or cat poop.

Small town boy


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