Thursday, June 29, 2006

I met George Kelly for lunch at Primo's yesterday, and gave him the picture of Cecil shaking hands with John Wayne. He has posted it on his blog, . He also posted the picture of Betsy, Paul, and me, made approximately 50 years ago, complete with saddle oxfords, crinoline petticoats, etc. My, my, that seems like at least 3 lifetimes ago.

I was reminded of something in our conversation that I hadn't thought of in years - what a perfectionist Cecil was! George and Butch were teenagers when Cecil undertook to disassemble the old house. Rather than encourage them to help, he insisted on doing it all himself, so they sat on the ground and watched him! He was that way about everything. Several offers of help were made by different people in the neighborhood to mow grass and maintain the playground, but he wanted to do it all. George said when he ordered the slide, there was one piece that was not perfectly straight. Cecil packed up the whole thing and sent it back for a new one.

He did allow help with marking off the tennis court, but that was about it. Rather than letting kids rush thoughtlessly into his garage to get croquet or shuffleboard or ping-pong equipment, he usually selected one child to do it, considered quite an honor by all. At the end of the day, whoever had been selected had to collect everything, make sure no parts were missing, and put it back like they found it. The games had rules and no fudging was allowed. He had park rules (no fighting, no cussing, no poor sportsmanship, strict open and close time), and everybody knew the rules and kept them. Expulsion was the penalty for breaking the rules, and he had to expell very few. He maintained order that way, and everybody had a good time.

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

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