The weekend following my return home from visiting my son Matt in Thailand, I went to a birthday party for a relative held at "Big Al's". This modern recreational wonder, hosts two bowling alleys, countless buzzing, ringing, exploding video games, cakes, pizzas, bubbly drinks of every type. Deafening rock music dancing on multiple huge screens throughout, with enough neon, tinsel, and glitz to put Wally World to envy.
I doubt this would have made the impact if I had not just the week before been, deep in the hills of Thailand, visiting an impoverished Hill Tribe of Hmong people.
The village was silent but for chickens clucking, a few hogs snorting and the peals of laughter from the playing children. I was captivated as the children from this dirt poor village ran and played with such enthusiasm and glee. They spun large wooden tops, ran along-side spoked tires, spinning them with a stick, made mud bridges in the dirt and hunted dauntingly with sling-shots. The little girl in the picture so charmed me with her broad smile and endless giggling and laughter as she demonstrated her prowess with her spinning top. With sunshine in her face, clear mountain air to breath and all of outdoors to run in, it seemed to me she had all the ingredients for childhood happiness.