And play they do, rounding the circle on scooters and bikes at speeds that ruffle the ends of blonde hair sticking out under their helmets and send their shirts flapping. It also means they have more room besides their front and back yards for Frisbee flying and ball playing and kite sailing. When we visit, more often than not, we wind up sitting on the front porch "spectating" while they play, their blue eyes bright and smiles big as they make turn after turn.
Reminds me of a place my family lived a few years before we moved to Tampa, another cul-de-sac called "Bristol Court." Only we lived at the top of the street, a hill by Florida standards, and I rode my own bike down that hill over and over. It may have been hot, but it was still a real breeze I felt in the middle of a Florida summer, cooling the perspiration for at least a few minutes as my bike picked up speed on the downward slope. The only difference between me and the boys? We called it a dead end street back then. If you had said "cul-de-sac", all of our neighbors would have looked at you with a "Huh?" look.
I suppose someone thought all those yellow signs that labeled a short street a "dead end" were insulting to the residents. First, they changed them to "No Outlet." Those signs are still up, but how many people now ever speak of their dead end street as anything but a "cul-de-sac?"
People are quick to use euphemisms, especially to put a better spin on something particularly ugly. "Ethnic cleansing" is really genocide. "Early retirement" often covers a company's downsizing by firing older workers. An "urban outdoorsman" is someone who is homeless. (Exactly how is that less heartless than "homeless"?) "Negative patient outcome" means he died! "Collateral damage" is also about death—the death of an unintended target. And yet more death—"pregnancy termination" is abortion.
All of these things are attempts to make something that is uncomfortable to talk about, much easier to discuss, to deal with, and ultimately, to do. Satan has been doing this for a long time. "Let us take our fill of love till morning," the temptress says in Prov 7:18. What she means is, "Let's go commit adultery." In a day where love is supposed to excuse every sin, where "God knows my heart" takes the place of following His will and remaining "holy as he is holy," we must be especially cautious.
A cul-de-sac is a neat place to live and I am glad my grandsons have the same opportunity I had as a child to enjoy that safer street to play in. But here is something funny: the literal meaning of the French cul-de-sac, which is supposed to be some higher class word, we Americans think, is actually "the bottom of the bag." Which is right where we will find ourselves when we try to use more palatable words to cover up our sin before an angry God.
The bottom of the bag is still a dead end street for anyone who thinks otherwise.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)