Seeing Dad unreel the hose and stretch it out across the yard from my bedroom window, I throw on my still damp swimsuit crumpled up in the corner and race down the upstairs hall, broadcasting the new development as I pass each bedroom door.
All five of us are soon suited up and scattered along the edges of the backyard lawn, freshly mown and striped like a big, green flag.
Bound by woodlands, lake and home, the Backyard Ogre’s grassy realm is small, but lush and coveted. And crossing it, irresistible.
Standing in the center of his sodded sovereignty, wielding his long, green, garden weapon, the ogre goes about the business of tending his land; well aware of the surrounding interlopers hiding behind large oaks, lawn furniture, and each other.
Taunting him to take aim, we leap and dance and cartwheel across the well-loved lawn, attacking en masse from the front and sneaking up, one by one, from behind. But the Backyard Ogre’s lengthy weapon, and cunning, and speed, make him fearless and formidable.
All are quickly drenched, but delighted by the cool of the spray in the hot summer sun, and by Dad’s massive grin and momentary focus.
Wearing shoes of fresh cut grass, we follow the Ogre, when he deems the backyard fun is over, and heads to the cool of the pool.
Diving in, always slightly aslant, Dad finds his first target, who, giggling and excited, braces themselves for the certain lift that will come from below and hoist them high with his powerful arms, for a glorious, airborne instant before the splash.
Each of us impatiently waiting our turn, of which there are never enough, before the ogre’s off… usually to golf… while we stay behind, water-logged and pruny, but confident the Ogre will soon be back to tend to his kingdom again.