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Don't Rush Me


Little darlin's aren't bad, just misunderstood


Disrespecting skateboarders and scooter kids?



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September 14, 2011 - So there I was, sweating in my long-sleeved shirt (that seemed to be a good idea at 6 a.m., last Friday morning). It was now 3-something in the afternoon and I got a call.

"Have you seen what they did to the swings in Depot Park?!"

A few octaves higher than normal, the voice was a little shrill. I understand.

As we all know, bad things never happen in the hamlet of all that is good and just; nary a negative brings down the whole from atop the apex of civilization.

All is 'sposed to be wonderful in the City of the Village of Clarkston and its surrounding ghetto (Independence Township, where I was reared and for a relatively brief amount of time, owned a home).

With camera in tow, I walked from my downtown digs in my long-sleeved shirt, sweating some more, to the park located on the south side of Depot Street was met by city councilwoman Peg Roth, city employee Ralph Daigle and city manager Dennis Ritter.

And, there before my eyes I beheld a jumble of treated, hand-hewn poles.

"This used to be a swing set."

It seems big trouble has rolled into the little city -- on the itty-bitty wheels of skateboards and scooters.

And those who ride have a tendency to, uhm, destroy stuff. I know, I know . . . say it ain't so, no . . . not skate boarders and scooterers in downtown Clarkston.

"It's the worse I have seen it in seven years."

Swing sets busted.

Gazebo busted.

Kids playground equipment busted.

Those darned kids!

I remember the days when I was a youthful lad, prowling the mean streets of Clarkston -- back when Rudy Schwartz (The Rudy, of Rudy's Market fame) used to walk from his store to the parking next to the Clarkston News building in his apron and paper Kowalski cap, handing out candy to the kids.

Back, when I was able to ride my bike on Sashabaw Road and swerve from lane to lane to gain speed, without fear of being struck by a car (we didn't need helmets those days).

Yep, I used to ride in from my ghetto home on Clarkston Road, between Clintonville and Walters Lake to Clarkston -- not the city of, just village.

Back in the day during my lily-white youth, the young ones were as pure as the driven snow. "Yes, sirs," and "No, ma'ams," were all we ever said to our elders.

Oh, and we never had hair over our ears, in our eyes and what hair we did have was always neat, trim and combed and all the girls were chaste and sweet as the candy Rudy gave us. Hey, it was the 1970s and everything was orderly then.

"They don't have any respect."

These rouge kids these days also like to bunch up on the sidewalk, cuss and swear (probably laugh and scratch, too) and block the way for decent folk to get through.

I know I am making fun of an infuriating situation, it's just my way of coping.

The little darlings aren't bad kids, they're just misunderstood by society.

All those things broken in the park this year costs money to repair, rebuild or replace. Money that could be better spent or saved.

It takes time to repair, rebuild or replace equipment and time means money and that means the same as it did in the previous sentence.

Seriously, why is it that some kids feel the need to trash public things, or things that ain't theirs? What is it?

I know kids today don't have it as good as we had it 10, 20, 30 (or more) years ago.

They have no opportunities to play organized sports. They have no money to buy the brand new, or newer model cars they drive around.

They cannot afford the scooters and skate boards they ride. They don't have the technology to communicate 24-hours a day with their BFFs, nor can they play electronic games with anybody around the globe.

It is so hard for them, but I just don't understand the need to destroy, disrupt and disrespect.

Hmm? Maybe their parents could chime in with the answer, or maybe, just maybe they could look in the mirror to see apples never fall too far from the tree.

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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