Kick the Can

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No, not the political kick the can.

Sometimes you need to hear the whole phrase for best understanding.  My Dad always said “happy as a clam,” so I once did research to find that the familiar saying was actually, “Happy as a clam at high tide.”

In politics one often finds examples of important decisions being postponed for another time.  This is often “kicking the can,” or more properly, “kicking the can down the road.”

Whatever you call stalling a decision is fine with me, you just cannot confuse it with the game of Kick the Can.

What was your favorite game as a kid?  One with enduring memories?  I bet it did not have wires or batteries.  I bet it included friends and family, quite possibly outside, likely had no big cost or wasteful packaging.

I grew up one of 37 cousins, and many got together for holidays. I remember playing Yankee Swap (I am a Boston kid so White Elephant to some).  I will never forget the ruby cheeks of my little brother getting the ruby red panties while sandwiched between my two Auntie Sisters, in full habit.  The panties were traded, but that photo is a keeper, for sure.

Mostly, I remember providing the grownups relief and cousins some lifetime memories by playing the game Kick the Can.

Kick the Can is brilliant in its simplicity, and green and sustainable in the where and how.  It is a game, like Tag, Hide and Seek or Capture the Flag, all played in our glorious open spaces.  It requires a can.  And the can can be anything like a soda can, or water bottle, wrapping paper all balled up or some other post-consumer ReUse of an object. It just can’t be store-bought or you risk being called an eco-knucklehead.

Here’s how the game gets played.

One person is chosen to be “it.”  You place the “can” in the middle of safe open space, preferably grass as boys will slide and dive for the can.  One player kicks the can, and everyone hides.  “It” uncovers their eyes and retrieves the can to the middle.  “It” tries to find and tag other players.  A tagged player goes to jail, or “in the can.” If a player can leave hiding, run all the way and “kick the can” without being tagged by “it,” then a jailbreak occurs, and you start again.  Once all are in jail, “It” wins and you start all over again.

Where would you play?  I bet you can adapt the game for play at the beach. Your backyard. A favorite park, a family’s house, on a cul-de-sac, on vacation, in the snow, in the pool.

Watch your kids and friends, play with them, work in teams, take pictures or video, put it to music to etch a memory.  The point is, all you need is a ReUse Can, some friends, and space for lasting memories.

This is also a teachable moment, with one of the most sustainable and green behaviors I can think of.  It is about family, friends, community, being a good sport, encouraging all levels to participate. Talk about the need to protect and enhance open space, who isn’t going to protect their “space” of memories?  You could share your memories of being a kid, your kick-the-can story.

But if you do, I need to warn all those people that I talk to that believe they are not green and sustainable thinkers.  Yes, it is true, you would have to recognize that you were, are and always will be a green and sustainable thinker.  Kick the Can is a good thing, in this context.

What a gift to pass along, the gift of sustainable memories.

By the time you read this, I will be deep in anticipation, wonder and hope that Santa finished a custom built bike for me.  All black, three necessary gears, cool repurposed headlight and bright neon green rims.  I can’t wait to see my kids in a play Christmas Eve and to see the magic of Christmas Day in their eyes.

I will certainly be happy as a clam at high tide.

Merry Christmas, send Green Story ideas to [email protected]

 

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