My elementary school in southern Michigan had a massive jungle gym made of large, darkly stained wooden logs. There was a slide, bridges, one of those wonderful fireman's poles, and a tire swing in the middle of it. We'd play tag on the wooden playground, and those who touched the wood chips on the ground were out of the game.

I remember Jason falling in the wood chips after one field day. I remember the day that Eli fell during a game, and split his forehead wide open on one of the protruding logs. I remember the day Amanda's arm got caught in the chains of the tire swing and was broken. The lunch ladies always fussed over us, but it was a waste of time. We always returned to the jungle gym.

Countless joys and countless pains were associated with that structure.

I remember going back to the elementary school to visit in middle school and junior high. I played with the kids during their recess, and though they were five years younger, they played the same games that we had.

Corey and I visited the school this past summer. They've got a near injury-proof plastic jungle gym up now. They've laid a basketball court where the wooden playground used to be.

Recess is dead.