I had never been to this part of town and it was very obvious that the neighborhoods were struggling. There were lots of abandoned, boarded up homes and lots of people loitering on street corners and in driveways. The park is in an open area behind a circle of homes about 1/3rd of which were abandoned. There was also evidence that an arsonist must live in the neighborhood. A nearby vinyl fence had a massive hole burnt in it and some of the playground slides showed evidence that fires had been started on them. But hey, even if it is in a shady part of town a playground is a playground… right?
Not quite. After we’d been there about 10 minutes a group of young men who had been hanging out & smoking on the other side of the park approached us. One of them asked me if I smoked – he had cigarettes to sell. I said no and mentioned that it isn’t good for your health. His follow up question was if I smoked “green” – apparently they hadn’t noticed the “Drug Free Zone” sign at the entrance of the park. I pointed out I was just there to let my boy play on the playground and not interested in purchasing anything. As they walked off, Trey called out to them: “Big boys come back! Come play!”. They ignored him.
I let Trey play a little longer but finally drew the line when he held up a broken beer bottle he found under the playground set. I started to look closely at the mulch around us and realized it was full of shards of glass (being from brown beer bottles it blended in quite well). We left and I took Trey to Chick-fil-a where he had a great, safe time and the only drug pushed was delicious soft-serve ice cream.