It’s Throwback Thursday, and I thought I’d share these photos from June of last year when Big Man and I climbed Stone Mountain. Our guide was a former colleague of mine whom I’ve adopted as a kind of surrogate grandfather to Big Man. We’ll call him Go-Pa. Go-Pa used to teach Math, build houses and did a stint in the Army back in the ’60s. Now retired, he is an avid nature and still-life photographer who regularly swims, bikes, travels and climbs.
Though I like to consider myself a bit of a “nature girl” and was actually the one who asked to tag along on Go-Pa’s hike, there were times during our adventure that I silently (and Big Man quite audibly) wanted to retreat to the cabana-covered picnic tables that we saw on our way up. Pretty sad since the hike took only about an hour. Yet my elder friend’s experience and patience (he didn’t seem to mind that our joining him doubled the time it would have taken him to climb solo) helped see us all through patches of woods, up slippery slopes and to the summit where we were able to see treetops and vistas of Atlanta.
One of the reasons I wanted to go on the climb was to teach Big Man a lesson– one that he’d feel in his muscles and bones– about endurance and pacing. I also wanted him to have a solid image in his memory bank of an active, intelligent and creative elder so that he knows that in time he can be that, too.
That said, below are a few of the other photos that we took during our climb and our grubbing on pizza at Fellini’s afterward.
Big Man’s first foray into group sports is has been his playing on the U8 team of our neighborhood Y. Those times when our Big Man would give the ball as a good kick as a size 1 foot could deliver his dad—one of the unofficial sideline coaches—might yell something like, “Go on, Pelé!” to which Big Man would respond with a quizzical look.
How easy it is to forget that our children will likely have a completely different set of pop culture references than we do. Thank goodness for long-memoried storytellers, artists and willing book publishers who help build a bridge over some of that gap. Not to mention the library fairies who seem sometimes to know just the gems to put on display.
One of my most recent discoveries in the kiddie stacks was Young Pele Soccer’s First Star by husband and wife team Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome. There’s much to love about it starting with the illustrations’ color palette of sun, forest and ocean tones. I appreciated how the Ransome’s addressed the issue of material poverty that for so long cast a shadow on many Brazilian lives, yet how they also still showed the shine and exuberance of the culture. True that the Ransome’s images of Pele’s childhood seem idealized. But it’s a choice that I completely understand and agree with because I think this helps young readers to focus more on internal values and commonalities shared than on material poverty. An unusual treat was that the text challenges readers by introducing Portuguese names and phrases.
When I get excited about a book I want to spread the love and share it. (I can’t help it. It’s what we book nerds do.) So, yes: I took it in to read to Big Man’s class. About half of the children said that it was their favorite Mystery Reader book so far, coming in second only to Milo and the Mysterious Island. Score!
Given that there’s only about a month or so until the 2014 World Cup, how better to close this post than with a video for Brazilian poet and pop star Seu Jorge’s samba written to celebrate the upcoming 2014 World Cup. Glitzy and slick, but my Lord– that voice.