The Magic Swing Set

A year ago this month our lives changed. All of our lives. And in celebrating the time that has passed from then until now, I am going to take these next couple weeks to tell some of the untold stories. The experiences my heart reminds me of in reflection. The stories of quiet kindness and merciful service. The people who sacrificed on our behalf for our betterment. I wish I could tell all the stories, I will spent my life trying.

BobAnn works with Chup in a gold gilded office building downtown Salt Lake. When Chup first started working with the company, he'd came home talking about BobAnn.

"BobAnn knows everything about the company."

"BobAnn is so nice to me, she even laughs at my jokes."

"I think you'd like BobAnn, you should meet her."

Which eventually I did. I was riding in an elevator in Las Vegas--tagging along during Chup's business trips--when BobAnn slipped between the closing doors.

"BobAnn!" yelped Chup.

"This is my wife!" he pointed at me.

The grouping inside the elevator all turned to look at me while a sweet woman with kind eyes responded.

"Nice to meet you." A soft hand was offered.

I thanked her for making my Chup's transition into the company more comfortable. She humbly rolled her eyes and laughed off any compliment. When the doors opened she jetted off to the convention and I kissed my husband good day. I had an afternoon to spend by the pool.

A couple of years later, BobAnn heard about my sister's three children coming to live with us. She told Chup she had something to offer in a way of entertainment. Her own children having long since abandoned the swing set in her backyard, BobAnn asked if she could give it to us. Retro House was void of tricks and treats, so we gratefully accepted.

One Friday September afternoon BobAnn showed up in a truck. In the back was the swing set in pieces. BobAnn had taken the day to painstakingly disassemble every screw and joint, load them in her truck and make the 45 minute commute southward to our home. There, with Chup, she meticulously reassembled the entire set and made sure it was sturdy before she took her tools and headed home.

As they worked on reconnecting each piece, I sat on a lawn chair and cried. What a good woman! I tried imagining myself doing the same thing for others. I don't even know how to work a screw driver, I don't do much heavy lifting and can't I just drop off a loaf of banana bread instead? I worried that BobAnn was secretly laughing to herself about that woman in the elevator, off to sun bathe while the rest of humanity worked, getting her due, four children all at once, but then I remembered thoughts like that don't enter the minds of the good-hearted.

In the coming months the swing set proved to be just what we needed. We spent the rest of the fall swinging, sliding and rocking on the teeter-totter. Claire learned to scale the monkey bars which made her recesses at school less lonely. Jane invented the Waterslide Backyard Freefall, and Ollie christened the crow's nest his Tower of Cool. Chup and I used it like an energy depleting machine, telling the children to go out and play anytime the indoor decibel level was too much. We said we'd stain it red, but the day to stain it red never offered itself up to our schedule. So it stayed perfectly weather beaten and sliver-threatening.

Now that the children have their own home, The Chief and I spend our afternoons swinging and scaling and rocking and chasing around the swing set. It has become a part of our lives, a structure of memories, a loyal time-passing friend.

Sorta like BobAnn.

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