Problem Solving, Five-Year-Old Style
My dad recently told me a story about Middle Brother's son (whose initials, annoyingly, are MB and so I think I'll just call him The Kid). Until the last year or two, the neighbours on either side of my parents had huge trees in their yards. We were especially fond of the tree in the neighbour's backyard, which cast an agreeable shadow over our driveway basketball court and the back porch deck. However, both trees are now gone, one a victim of some weird tree disease and the other a victim of a bad storm.
The shade of the back tree was immediately missed, but it wasn't until autumn that the full ramifications of the tree loss was made clear. My dad always raked up a great big leaf pile and in we'd jump. He'd carried on this tradition with The Kid, who thoroughly loved it. But this year, no trees means few leaves, which means no great big pile for the jumping.
Dad and The Kid were taking Kodiak for a walk and were chatting about various topics of interest to grandfathers and little boys. One topic on the day's agenda was what a bummer it was to have no leaf pile. Mulling this over, they passed a big tree when a light bulb went off over The Kid's head.
"Stuff your pockets!" Then The Kid was a blur of activity, scooping up leaves and stuffing them in my dad's jean pockets and in his own pockets. But pockets don't hold a lot of leaves, so he scooped up great heaps into his arms and doggedly trudged home with them.
My dad got a rake and they scrounged some leaves from the neighbours' yards. By all accounts, the leaf pile wasn't as great as piles past, but at least it was something. (My dad ended this story by saying "It rained overnight and now I have a sodden pile of leaves that don’t even belong to me.")