Growing Your Children 

by Mick Lindley

     A section of Panama City Beach, Florida has long been known as "Little Birmingham" because so many people from Birmingham, Alabama go there. Our parents were no exception when they took us there in the mid and late 1950's, and 60's for a vacation. Two complete families went together as well as our Aunt Norma.

    It was a great time for fun in the sun at the beach. After a few days at the beach our parents decided to take us up to the dog-racing track at Ebro a few miles away. When we got there and parked we were on our way to the gate when I noticed a roped off area about half the size of a football field. It was full of kids and mud puddles. Some of the bigger kids had long sticks in their hands and their purpose in life seemed to be to keep the younger ones in line, as well as inside the ropes.
    We got to the gate and our parents prepared to pay for admission when they found out children could not go in. You had to be 18 to enter. The attendant quickly stated that they had a nursery. OK, where is it? He pointed to the roped off area we had passed. My heart immediately skipped a beat as I remembered the bigger kids with sticks. It was time for a family meeting.
    My mom Ethelene, and my cousins mom Evelyn, along with our Dads decided they could not leave us in the "nursery".  It was a feeling of relief when I heard our parents say we would stay with them. As they prepared to leave the attendant called out again "we have a nursery" as he tried to persuade them to come on in and leave us there. Our Aunt Norma who had no children at the time called out in a loud voice "Mister we don't go nowhere unless we take our kids".  Not wanting to be outdone my cousin Larry and myself repeated it as we threw our chests out proudly and said "Yeah Mister, they don't go nowhere unless they take us". We walked back to the car feeling 10 feet tall.
    This was one of many confidence builders we enjoyed as children. Our parents included us in 95 per cent of everything they did. If your parents include you in most everything they do be thankful. If you are a parent include your children in everything, they as well as you will be better for it.

    I'm not saying parents cannot go do other things. They should get away, but don't leave your children out.