Those Evenings

“Come on. No fair,” said John. “You guys always win!”

“John that’s what happens when you don’t guard your flag,” I said.

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“Fine then, we QUIT!”
This would an example of a typical Tuesday evening. After school on Mondays and Tuesdays, I head over to John and Kate’s. As soon as I walk through the door Kate suffocates me with her bear hugs. She’s strong for a five year old. I make my way into the family room where I pry John away from the TV. When you’re six, going on seven, you have to keep up on the latest Pokemon episodes.
Soon afterwards, the door bell rings about 50 times without pause. I know exactly who it is. “LUKE!” said John.
Sure enough, Luke and his sister Olivia come rushing in with only one thing on their minds. Hide and Seek Capture the Flag. You’re probably wondering what in the world is that? It is a game I made up.

It’s like Capture the Flag, but instead of two bowling pins set on each side of the gym, we use bike helmets hidden in the yard. Soon, I am surrounded by kids and there is nowhere to go. I look to my left and then to the right. “Alright!” I say. I look down at their tinny little munchkin faces. “We can play, but only for a little bit.” At first I’m not really in the mood to run around. I’ve just had a long day at school and I’d really like to get a head start on my homework, but as soon as the game gets started, it’s hard not to get engrossed. I find myself doing ridiculous victory dances whenever my team finds a helmet or tags the enemy.
After a good hour or so, I sit down on the porch step and watch them play. Capture the Flag Hide and Seek in reality is just a silly game used to keep the John and Kate entertained. After a couple of weeks I can see changes in the John’s behavior. He used to be the worst sport. John was always the first one to cry about losing. Now he is congratulating the opposing team. Kate knows that she can be just as fast as the boys. They work together instead of against each other, even if that means teaming up on me for an extra treat. Was it because of a silly game or are they just growing up. Maybe it’s both. Next fall I will be leaving for college and I am going to miss Monday and Tuesday evenings.

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