Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Corner Kids

My kids are homebodies and I was remarking to my mother the other day that I almost wish they would go out and get into some trouble. Instead of venturing out, they're drawn to the comfort of our house or the coolness of their parents or, probably, the warmth of the television set. Whatever it is, they'd rather be right here - right here with us, all the time - than anyplace else.

Saying I want them to go out and find trouble is an exaggeration, of course. I don't want anyone to get hurt or any laws broken, but a little mischief wouldn't be so bad. A little mischief elsewhere, that is.

Having said this, we were at the park on the corner last Saturday and there was a Memphis City Schools security car parked in front of Richland Elementary. And then a police car showed up. And then another ... and another ...

A total of seven police cars rolled up ("rolled up" is an everyday verb in Memphis) on a group of kids milling about at the corner of Oak Grove and Melvin, across the street from Brennan Park. They weren't doing anything, just standing; gathering, as kids will do. However, before they'd gathered, they'd been running the hallways of Richland Elementary. On a Saturday.

So, the kids all got a ride home, or to juvenile court, from the police. It was like an East Memphis, middle-class episode of The Wire, where children loiter on 70-degree days at locations with names like "Oak Grove," "Melvin" and "Brennan Park."

I'm not so anxious any more for The Quartet to run the neighborhoods, meet kids and find mischief. I'm quite happy with them sitting in the living room, watching Disney and not rolling up into our driveway with Five-O.