I remember growing up and hearing, “back when I was a kid, a hamburger and a coke was $0.25 and I walked to school, in the snow, up a hill, both ways, barefooted and all I had to entertain me was a rock and a piece of corn husk…” (emphasis added). I usually heard such things when I complained of being bored, or not having anywhere to go or anything to do. I was reminded that a world existed outside of technological entertainment, fancy restaurants, bumper boats and go-cart tracks. A world that consisted of community interaction and entertainment such as dirt pad basketball court games of H-O-R-S-E, backyard football, hikes in the woods, guitar pickings, conversations over coffee at the Omelet House, cattle pond fishing and playing with friends in a sprinkler. Sure, it was enjoyable when the fair came to town or I got to go see a movie at the theater, but now, years later, I remember the fun things that I participated in that didn’t cost much money, or anything at all. I even smile at the memory of kicking pine cones in my Pap-Paw’s backyard, a game he called “football” and how hearing him laugh and spending time with him was so much more fun and memorable than any movie I sat through or waterpark I visited. I now have a child that has just about every gadget one could have and I am faced with the statement at times, “I am bored, there’s nothing to do.” It occurs to me now, there’s always something to do and often that something is a wonderful memory waiting to happen. Living in small rural Mississippi can strike us at times as being a slow paced, uneventful quagmire of boredom, but when we step back and look at the forest, rather than just the trees in front of us, a whole new world of opportunity to enjoy ourselves and the company of others opens itself up unto us. Some of the best things in life, truly are free and happiness and enjoyment fall into that category. I am delighted that our community offers some of those memory making opportunities where we can connect with nature, with one another and truly entertain our bodies, mind and spirit. The good old days are still present, only if we choose to see them in front of us beyond all the noise of what is perceived as negative and wrong. There are some neat things in our community that happen regularly that do not take a dime to enjoy or participate in, most of which are brought about by grass roots movements of our citizens. Such things as:
662 Rocks – A local artist paints and then then hides rocks around town for children to look for and find
Nature and Interpretive Trail – now open: a scenic 1 1/2 mile walking trail with educational signage located across from the playground on Concord Drive. It contains Adirondack style shelters, benches, a footbridge and alternative trails of additional walking mileage.
Amory Life Time Learning – interesting topics discussed and taught by private citizens that include literature, art, music and current events
Words and Music – sometimes in the newly renovated Frisco Park, sometimes in the pocket park in Vinegar Bend, and other places – music is played, poetry is read and fellowship is had. Anyone is welcome to present poetry, literature or play along with the band.
Splash Pad fun at Frisco Park. Come enjoy cooling off in the splash pad and enjoy a picnic under the shade.
Movie Under the Stars – Hosted by Friends of the Amory Regional Museum, enjoy an outdoor movie complete with refreshments next to the Old Post Office exhibit located next door to the Amory Regional Museum.
These free to low cost activities and events are in addition to watching a park and recreation baseball game, soccer match, football game, etc. and enjoying seeing our young people enjoy themselves, or stopping by one of the many locations of exhibits offered by Amory Regional Museum, or fishing and feeding the ducks at McAlpine Lake, or getting some exercise at one of our many walking tracks and/or playgrounds.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but rather an example of opportunity for enjoyment. Let us all try and make the most of these and other opportunities to make a memory, so that we too can continue to tell our future generations, “back when I was a kid…” Boredom truly IS in the eye of the beholder