Yesterday afternoon, I relaxed in my baby-pool while enjoying a bowl of juicy watermelon. It was supposed to thunderstorm, but alas, rain must have fallen elsewhere, for my sweetheart and I enjoyed a lazy day catching rays and listening to music. While Steve trimmed shrubs, I soaked in the sun, enjoying Beatles radio on Pandora. Song after song after song, I was reminded of the summers I spent as a child in south Toledo where my friends and I blared music on our transistor radios while lying on aluminum foil, our preteen bodies coated in baby oil. Soon enough, I longed for a soft-serve ice cream cone at Penguin Palace, at swim at the Rec Center, and an afternoon goofing around on the Slip and Slide in my own backyard.
The night before Steve and I went to a Toledo Mud Hen’s baseball game with his daughters. Sitting in the stands, I remembered a summer night when I was seven and my father caught a pop fly with his bare hands. We had been sitting in the second row near first base, and I’ll never forget how amazed I was that Dad not only caught the ball, but was brave enough to ask the players to autograph it at the end of the game. Back then the only sounds on the loud speaker were the announcer’s voice and the pipe organ playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame". This past Saturday, I was surprised at how much things have changed. Now it’s no longer only about the game, for music constantly blared, t-shirts were tossed into the eagerly awaiting crowd, and there were constant interruptions from advertisements and video shots of the crowd on the Jumbotron.
As we left the stadium, I was talking with Steve’s youngest about how when I was her age, there was no such thing as the Internet or cell phones. “When I was twenty-two, things were a lot simpler,” I told her.
Silently I added, Man, I miss those days sometimes.
While I’m not a fan of all things summer related (like fireworks and high humidity and endless road construction), I do enjoy this season more now that we’re finally in mid-July. The crickets are chirping, shadows are getting longer, and my garden is finally producing after an odd start this past spring. There’s still a lot to look forward to (like peach season, endless hours relaxing on the front porch swing, and the week Steve and I will spend at Posey Lake in Michigan), so I don’t want to wish summer away. When I was little girl, I’d keep track of how many days until school started so I could pack in every ounce of fun before the inevitable loss of freedom.
These days I’m waxing nostalgic for the summers of my childhood.
Back then, time was different…slower somehow. Every day there seemed to be endless hours to ride my bike, watch game shows on TV, bask in the sun coated with baby oil, and even go to a matinee movie if it was too hot and muggy. When I was ten in the summer of 1977, Star Wars was released and I did odd jobs around the house to earn a dollar and a trip to the Glenbyrne I and II where I watched Luke Skywalker destroy the Death Star eleven times. The next summer, my sisters and I memorized all of the songs (and most of the lines) from Grease.
Not every day was stellar though. I recall a particularly humdrum Sunday afternoon when we deviled my mother for something to do. She took a nap while my father drove us to Penguin Palace for chocolate ice cream cones coated with chocolate shot, then we came home and watched fifteen years worth of 35 millimeter silent home movies in the basement until suppertime.
It was heavenly…and one of my most cherished memories.
These days, there’s still so much to love about summertime – the vibrant colors in my flower gardens. Long hours of evening sunlight, perfect for twilight bike rides. Open windows and canopied swings. Sweet basil and baseball and board games played on the back porch. It’s a wonderful thing to turn off the phone and tune in to the natural world. Or visit with a friend over iced coffee at an outdoor cafe. Or sit in the sun, savoring a good book.
Before we know it, autumn will arrive in all its glory. School will be back in session. Life will get busier for many of us. But for now, it’s nice to slow down and enjoy the little things easily discovered during this season of light. So I’m headed outside to watch the baby cardinals play in the birdbath. To breathe in the cool breeze blowing in from the northwest. To bask in the baby pool for a bit before I go back to work.
And abundantly enjoy every moment this beautiful summer day has to offer.