Our next door neighbors were recently re-doing the landscaping on their yard and while the work was underway, I noticed the landscaping company was about to remove and discard the above cement slab from the yard. It was created by the family who had previously lived there. They had three young children as commemorated by the footprints in the concrete and shown in the photo below.
The children's grandparents were all deceased, so we, in a way, filled that role for them. Fortunately we had stayed connected over the years, even though they were transferred overseas, but were in the process of repatriating back. So I texted them offering to save the concrete slab if they’d like. They immediately responded yes, so Sunday, the family came over to pick it up for placement in the yard of their new home. It was great seeing our old neighbors and their kids again.
This occurrence made me recollect times growing up as a kid when we’d leave our mark on any cement that Dad would be pouring around the farm. We would have plenty of time to scope out what to put on the cement as it took some time for Dad to set up the forms and mix the cement. Then as it was hardening after Dad had left to do something else, we’d do our thing in the cement before it fully set.
No doubt Dad got a kick out what he discovered when he removed the forms a day or so later. However, some were accidental. I can recall my young brother walking across the entire floor of a hog stable that Dad had poured earlier. The footprints were quite deep and no doubt are still there. Hogs didn’t care, but Dad sure did!
Sometimes my sisters would pretend they’d be movie stars just like on the sidewalk at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
But most of the time we simply wrote our name, initials or the year.
When older, I enjoyed helping Dad with the cement work, digging trenches for foundations, setting up the forms, adding rebar, mixing the materials for the cement (sand, gravel, cement and water) and finally pouring the cement. Dad would sometimes have me throw boulders in the bottom of the foundation trenches to save cement. I also remember a couple times burying a time capsule with some of our drawings or newspaper articles inside a tin can.
One cement project that unfortunately Dad never accomplished was to pour a basketball court in front of our garage. To improvise, I played on a cement pad outside our milking parlor where the cows were left out after being milked. I hung a rim and net from the barn and could play basketball between milkings; however, since the cows had a habit of pooping just as they were released outside, it meant dodging cow paddies while dribbling!
For posterity, be sure to inscribe something on the next wet cement you run across!