When I walked on Tuesday morning, I passed Ford Park and the tree above was the only one in this park that was resplendent in tender, bright-green leaves. This willow looked a little odd since all the rest of the trees at this venue were still bare, making this big willow tree almost look out of place, like perhaps it had been Photo-shopped into a black-and-white scene. Now, trees don’t have feelings, of course, but if there was a thought bubble overhead it would have proclaimed “it’s not easy being green” when all the other trees are still the proverbial ugly ducklings. This morning, however, when I passed this park, the rest of the trees, had curling leaves beginning to unfurl throughout Ford Park. I am sure when I walk by tomorrow morning the whole park will have come alive in the expanse of 24 hours, just like time-lapse photography. Pastel palettes of pinks a ‘plenty were in abundance. This sudden spate of warm weather enhanced the surge of flowering plum and crabapple blossoms on several trees which looked so dainty and pristine amongst the old and weathered-looking, sturdy playground equipment. A magnolia tree or two had buds just on the verge of bursting open and after today’s heat, they will probably be blooming tomorrow and drop their petals on Saturday. This beautiful big willow tree has been a focal point in Ford Park, formerly known as Buckingham Park , for as long as I can remember. In fact, in 1966, the year we moved to the States, I spent most of my Summer vacation days at Buckingham Park. They always had a college student who was in charge of kids’ activities at the Park and she oversaw the arts and crafts projects, as well as monitoring the playground equipment and supervising the wading pool. We used to make alot of crafts, mostly out of long plastic laces, which we would purchase at the Park for three cents for a three-foot length in every color imaginable. The laces were painstakingly woven together and fashioned into lanyards. At one time we had so many of these lanyards around the house I thought I’d never need to buy one the rest my life. The wading pool was awesome on scorching hot days and we would while away the hours playing board games like checkers, Chinese checkers or Mancala and when boredom set in, there was plenty of playground equipment to use. My friends and I would arrive early in the day and there were no worries by our moms as they knew we were in good hands until dinnertime. All us girls would share secrets and sandwiches and trade sweets and other goodies from our brown bag lunches while sitting under the shade of this same big ol’ willow tree. Life was simple and easy in those days wasn’t it? You exerted alot of energy, got alot of Vitamin D from being out in the sun all day and pretty much crashed and burned after dinner was done. The next day you’d do it all again, the same routine all Summer ‘til Labor Day, except for the two weeks you tore yourself away from your pals and went on the annual family vacation. No guilty pleasures – just youthful sweet and simple pleasures.