Continued from here.
I am not quite ready to let go talk of the swing set, partly because the fun and danger we had with the slide merits a post of its own.
In reality, it was as impressive as this:
(Except, you know, attached to a jungle gym.)
But in my head it looked like this:
And the latter was approximately the use we made of it.
There was the beginning when we discovered we could climb across the top of the monkey bars directly on to the slide.
Then the summer that we created our very own do-it-yourself backyard slip ‘n’ slide. By running the hose directly down the slide, we found a way to cool and lubricate hot metal enough to get our butts down it. That we sometimes got tangled in the hose on the way up — or on the way down — was a drawback, yes, but not a truly inhibiting factor. Fortunately, after the first few scrapes and bruises, we used our knot-tying capabilities — thank you, summer camp and Girl Scouts — to secure the hose in such a way that the water fell on the slide but that the hose itself was out of the way.
Which left the nuts and bolts to deal with. Of course, some nuts and bolts had to be used in the assembly of the swing set, to hold the thing together. As it happened, some of them were on the slide, both at the top — to attach it to the frame — and at the bottom — to attach it to a small “footer bar” that kept the bottom of the slide a couple of inches off the ground itself. They stuck out from the sides of the slide surface, perhaps a few millimeters or so. In normal, dry circumstances — that is, at normal, unlubricated sliding velocities — these nuts and bolts posed no threat. One simply sat in the middle of the slide and slid to the ground in a more or less straight line. Not so with the homemade slip ‘n’ slide. The addition of the hose water meant that the slider would slide not only from the top of the slide to the bottom, but they would slide side to side as well. This unpredictability rendered avoiding the sharp metal bits somewhat difficult.
We never did figure that one out.
What we did figure out was that the perpetual stream of water created a small marsh at the bottom of the slide, which in turn made my dad rather pissed. Henceforth, we limited the duration of our slip ‘n’ slide adventures, which — unfortunately — made us less able to solve the problem of the bolts.
In winter, on the other hand, the condition of water is somewhat different.