As a child I drew on that large flat surface of my familyís driveway with big chunks of colored chalk. I would play Hop Scotch with my friends and later Jacks. Driveways were the line that marked the end of my yard and the beginning of some elseís yard. They marked boundaries for games, down to Jimís driveway and over to Maryís driveway and up to mine. Driveways were better for jump rope especially double ropes because they are wider then sidewalks. We would use the longer drives to learn to balance on a bicycle. Driveways were perfect proving grounds for learning to Roller Skate.
There was one driveway nobody played on because it was broken and cracked. You could hear the car tires push and grind the battered concrete when the owner pulled in. We all had our fair share of scraped knees, but none of us wanted the deep painful gouges and cuts from an unsafe and vengeful cracked driveway. Besides, it made the whole yard seem ugly.
I remember the day the men of the neighborhood (my dad included) got together one Saturday morning with pick and shovels and took out our revenge on that old driveway. That night the neighborhood had a block party to celebrate the barren dirt driveway. There was plenty of beer for the grownups, Kool-Aid for the kids, and hamburgers, chips, watermelon and ice cream for everyone.
On Monday strange men came with levels and stakes and string and smoothed out the ground. Word went out quickly and we all took our bikes over to see. It wasnít long before we lost interest and created another game to play. We were so absorbed we almost missed the best part, the arrival of the revolving cement truck. We raced over to see the cement slide down the chute to be spread over the sand and gravel and steel reinforcement that had been laid while we were busy fighting dragons and tilting windmills. We wanted to help, we wanted to water, we wanted to be involved. No this needed to be done by the professionals. We stood back, and we waited. "Oh no, you mean we canít do anything for two weeks?"
My family moved to another city in another state a year later. Not long ago I visited the old neighborhood. I saw that beautiful driveway and remembered how much fun we had playing on it. The driveway had been well built and all these many years later it looked strong with plenty of life still in it. I smiled as I noticed the uneven lines of Hop Scotch drawn in colored chalk in the middle of that driveway. It was no longer the driveway nobody wanted to play on. It had become part of the neighborhood.
The life of a driveway is determined by the quality of the initial installation.