Power Rangers Grow Up

 In Seriously?


Today is the first day of my summer vacation, and though I will never lose that wonderful feeling of freedom and happiness that accompanies the first day of a teacher’s summer vacation, today there is a bittersweet tinge. Perhaps this is because today is also the day of one child’s Graduation Party.

She is not my child but some days she might as well be. A mere toddler when her family built a house across the road from me, she and her sister came to define summer at our house. They tumbled into our yard and fill our days with chocolate milk tea parties and kitten extravaganzas.

The girls usually came in a set of four, but sometimes the younger two splintered off and their escapades were imaginative and notorious. Our family farm rarely had a shortage of kittens but kittens born to semi- feral barn cats are not the friendly type you see on your Emergency Kittens twitter. Thus, I looked out my window one day to see the two girls, their chubby arms clad with my oven mitts, in hot pursuit of a herd of hissing calico kittens.

Kittens were everywhere around here, often clad in American Girl Doll attire. Sometimes I would find a very irritated male cat, dressed in colonial garb. He’d been forgotten by the girls who had moved on to something more interesting, such as ice cream. But farm cats do not have a tremendously long life expectancy and are sometimes taken by illness or the clumsiness of a bovine laying down in the hay, oblivious to the cat sleeping in the hay beneath her. Such was the case with poor Paprika (the girls liked to name the cats after spices). I returned home one day to find a makeshift grave, marked by flowers and a large rock on which the girls had written in Marker “RIP Paprika.”

I’m sure a lot of kids play “funeral” and bury dead animals. Nothing weird about that.

They weren’t really the Barbie Doll types, but one time they engaged in an afternoon of fun with the dollhouse my father crafted for my youngest. I was not home at the time, but received a call from my daughter. It was an inquiry as to our supply of yellow food coloring. As you might suspect, I was suspicious and required some clarification of their needs. Well, they were moving some residents into the dollhouse and, in the interest of promoting a realistic scene, needed to add some urine to the dollhouse toilet.

By this time, the two girls had adopted an attitude toward the Power Rangers that bordered on idolatry. They were Power Rangers. There were extensive Power Ranger Training Sessions in the back yard. Who needs karate lessons? In fact for many summers, our neighborhood was crime free and I believe we have those two to thank for that…

Even when they were separated by the confining walls of their bedrooms, they kept in touch through the use of a creative toy called Chat Now. I’m not sure if any of you remember that one, but it was basically a Walkie Talkie that looked like a cell phone and had some limited “texting” feature. Too young for cell phones, the girls loved Chat Now. How many nights did I hear the muffled sounds of giggling? Under the covers, way past bedtime, the girls burned the midnight oil with subversive plans of Power Ranger missions.

But Power Rangers grow up. They get real cell phones and jobs and college acceptance letters. And today, we celebrate the graduation of one Power Ranger, interior dollhouse designing, funeral directing, kitten loving Cheetah Girl. Soon she will start on her new life

By necessity, she will leave some things behind. But there are things that will never leave her- a litany of memories of life on the Arthur Road, complete with adventure and kickball games and undying friendship and ….childhood.

May her life be filled with kittens.

Featured  Image: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/2012/03/power_rangers_a_l.jpg

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