For some odd reason, Atheist-Friend brought a Giada-tested entree and chocolate bundt cake. Apparently, her confidence in my ability to provide a decent meal is very much in line with her faith in the hereafter. Quite the non-believer, that Atheist-Friend.
Anyway, while the menfolk watched some gridiron, we headed to the park. Our plan was to plop ourselves in the minivan for as long as humanly possible while remaining far enough away from the children so that they couldn't easily overwhelm us with demands for food, drink, and attention. We were still only 30 feet away, but to access us, kids would have to go around a long fence and then try to get in through the locked doors. It was a credible plan.
Atheist-Friend: Oh, good. They found a ball. Now they'll finally leave us alone for a few minutes.
Me: It's old. It's been sitting in the park for God-knows-how-long. I bet you it has raccoon pee on it.
Within moments, our knuckle-headed children threw their new treasure right over the fence and onto 111th Street (a major thoroughfare in our neighborhood). The two of us shrugged it off and figured it was a valuable and important lesson on loss. Yet our children continued to hold vigil near the fence, staring forlornly onto the street as cars whizzed by.
Suddenly, an older gentlemen pulled off to the side of the road and disappeared down the block where the blue ball had blown. He returned several minutes later (it was windy, I'm guessing the ball had gone quite the distance) and handed it solemnly to our children still glued to the fence.
Atheist-Friend: They had better be saying thank-you.
Me: I think they're asking if they can just go home with him.
Just another example of Chicago-style human warmth and lunacy.
And for the record, I am never pulling over or getting out of my minivan for a bunch of kids who should know better than to throw a plastic ball by a street on a windy day.