I was introduced to skateboarding–then called “sidewalk surfing”–on a family visit to California in 1963. I got my first skateboard in 1965 from Beaver’s Bike and Hobby on Church St. So I’ve been waiting for the opening of the Ann Arbor Skatepark for quite some time.
There are those that maintain that there’s no fool like an old fool, but when I told my doctor how I lost almost thirty pounds since the beginning of summer, he said he wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, but it seemed to be working for me.
To avoid getting in other skaters’ way, I show up first thing every morning, when a few members of the ad-hoc “dawn patrol” have the place pretty much to ourselves. One recent morning, I brought along a broom and dustpan to clean up any debris left by a storm the previous afternoon (the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones” was never truer than in skateboarding). I was sweeping one of the “cloverleaf bowls” when, partway up the side, I saw an inert mouse.
I once had a house with an inground swimming pool. It was like Noah’s Ark in reverse–animals would come two by two to a watery grave. It was a regular chore to scoop out the corpses of chipmunks, squirrels, and other small mammals. The skate park’s concrete is so smooth that even insects are unable to crawl up the sides of its bowls.
So I figured another dead mouse in a pool was just par for the course.
But as I reached up and scooped it into my dustpan, the mouse revived! It leapt three or four feet to the deck, then scurried under the fence and down a hole.
When the park opened, skateboard celebrity Tony Hawk and his crew were there for the festivities. Since then, a large red-tailed hawk (no relation) has taken up residence, perching most days on one of the light poles on the adjacent ball diamonds.
When the mouse flew out of the bowl, the hawk lifted off its pole a couple hundred yards away, flew over, and settled on the nearest light pole. The hawk sat there for more than an hour, watching everything like a … very interested observer.
That hawk had seen skateboarders do all manner of stunts over the past few months, but evidently this was the first one that really impressed it: “C’mon, do that flying mouse trick again!”