I spent a very long, cold afternoon this weekend at my local Halloween parade. Each year, the city closes down Main Street for a Halloween parade followed by trick-or-treating for the kids. It’s very chaotic and very disorganized. And it’s very cold. But, the kids find it fun (this was the first year my daughter was old enough to want to go) and it gets a huge turnout. It’s also free.
As we were walking down Main Street, I commented to my husband that I think it’s great the city does this, especially for parents who have to work and can’t take their kids trick-or-treating on Halloween. It’s a way to share that experience with their children and create those memories. It’s one way that our city is able to enhance a family’s Halloween experience for no extra expense (municipal parking is free, too!) to the family. Which, given the hardships a lot of people in my city are facing, is nice.
Of course this gets me thinking about all the other free things that we have available to us that enhance our lives for little to no extra cost. Here are a few of them:
Community parks: Although there’s a small park in my neighborhood, I don’t like it very much. Fortunately, we live less than a mile from one of the biggest community parks in my county. This park is over 300 acres and contains walking and biking trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, 4 huge playgrounds, and lots of open field space. Parking is free and there are party pavilions available for a small fee. Even dogs are allowed! What’s particularly enjoyable about this park is that there really is something for everyone. Families and individuals can play, enjoy nature, get exercise and get outdoors all for free. With the amount of kids and adults tethered to electronics all day long, it’s wonderful that there is a free way to disconnect.
Libraries: I cannot express in a strong enough word how much I love my library. I’m an avid reader with extremely eclectic taste. I read a wide variety of subjects but rarely read a book more than once. For someone like me, the library is perfect. We also have a statewide loan system (when you live in a state with 3 counties total, it makes it easy) and sometimes my state is so foolish as to only order one copy of a book for the whole state; with the statewide loan system, I have no problem getting access to any book. The supplemental programs are fantastic, too. Each year, the vo-tech high school has a gingerbread house making event at Christmastime. There are family exercise programs, story time, and charity events. There are movies, book clubs, educational speakers (I got to see Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, this past April) and tons of free community events (including tax preparation).
The radio: For as much as I love my iPod, I love the radio that much more. I was raised listening to the radio. It was on all the time. I’ve gotten to the point that I cannot function (read: think) if there isn’t some kind of music on. I love all that the radio has to offer. There is literally something for everyone. I tend to get stuck in a music rut and the radio is constantly introducing me to new music. My morning commute would be that much more treacherous if it were not for the morning show that I’ve been listening to every morning for the last 9 years (there have been times where I’ve been laughing so hard, I can’t drive through my tears). For an accurate picture of how I feel about the radio, listen to Rush’s “The Spirit of Radio”. That should do it.
With the amount of stuff that there is to make my life easier–my iPhone, the Internet (I have learned so much from YouTube. I swear I do more than just watch old hair band videos), and DVRs–it’s nice to pause sometimes and realize that my life can be equally enhanced by things that are free.
What are some of your favorite free activities and items that enhance your life?
Article publié pour la première fois le 31/10/2011