Scavenger hunts bring back memories of old fashioned birthday parties, when neighborhoods were safe. You could ask the lady three doors down for safety pins, then check off number 7. You could run across the street, not worrying about guns or fast drivers, and ask for a monogrammed handkerchief, number 10.

It would be the end of summer, and people would not be on vacation. Number 2, a green pot holder might take two or three houses, but someone would offer you homemade lemonade under a cool porch. You were young, with no real concept of time, summer was yours. Then perked up by the lemonade, you dashed to the house with so many little kids for numbers 3 and possibly 4, a yellow rubber duck and a book about dinosaurs. Jackpot!

Since you are not the birthday girl, you are wearing sneakers instead of church shoes. The list is getting moist and crumpled, but you pick number 6, clothes pins, at least two of them, and you run to the old lady who still hangs out her wash in the backyard. She is happy to help. She looks at the list and says she has number 8, as well, a thimble. In a shaky voice, she asks you to return that and you promise to do it.

You're glad there are only three more things to find because now you're thinking about the cake and ice cream. Number 5 is a hammer. Number 9 is a can of tomato soup. Number 1 is always the hardest, which is why you did them out of order. Number 1 is a man's coat. The day has gotten hotter and the rules didn't say you couldn't go to your own house, so you run home, knowing exactly where the last three things will be.

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