I saw one of the 'Transformers' movies on TV the other night. Which one? I don't know. It's the one where this guy and this girl run and run and run. Then, these big robot's stomp around, crushing buildings, making a ton of noise and somehow in the end the world is saved.

What's that? That's what all the 'Transformers' movies are about? Oh...well, it was one of 'em.

Anyway, a lot of the younger people think Transformers are relatively new, something that first came out somewhere in the 80's and now are the biggest thing ever because of the movies. You can buy a little toy for too much money, go home, and change the Volkswagen into a robot that...well, I guess does something. Pretty cool, I suppose.

But what a lot of younger people don't know is, we had Transformers waaay back in the old days. Yep, we sure did.

Heck, I can remember being a little nipper (and so darn cute) back on the farm by little Leota, Minnesota. I'd be outside and pick up a stick. No, nothing special, just a stick that somehow had come off that big tree over there, lying in the dirt.

But suddenly it transformed! Quick as a whip, it turned into a rifle (probably a Winchester) and I was chasing the bad guys, firing away, around the garage, the barn. When I had vanquished them, voila! The stick transformed into a spear and I was in the Olympic Javelin contest (and I won, too, I'm pretty sure). Then, snap, it became a wand and Holy Smoke, I was Harry Potter before Harry Potter was even a twinkle in J.K. Rowling's eye!

We had a pasture just to the east of the farmyard, down there past the Grainery. The cows and calves would graze down there. But in the summer, with the help of an old manual lawnmower, it suddenly transformed...bingo!, Metropolitan Stadium, home of your favorite Minnesota Twins! The stadium was jam-packed, the bases were whatever you could find for them (cow pies were fine, if they were dried...the fresh ones, well, not so much). Then the greatest transformation of all! In the blink of an eye, I transformed into Harmon Killebrew and it was World Series Game 7, staring down the great Sandy Koufax. Yep, eyeball-to-eyeball with 'ol Sandy right there in that pasture...oops, I mean Met Stadium. If I recall correctly (and memories bend warm), I'm pretty sure I took him long and won the game.

Oh there were other transformers, too. In our old grove were 4 trees that became corners for a fort, a castle, a mansion. The hay-mow of the barn (before it burned down, drat it!) was Boston Garden and I was John Havlicek, right there in the middle of the bales of hay.

So you see, we had transformers in my day, back all those years ago. We had tons of transformers, they were almost everywhere you looked.

Isn't imagination a great thing? You can have anything you want. It doesn't have to be built into a toy. It doesn't have to be in the software of a video game.

Just imagine if we still had that imagination today.

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