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Monday, July 31, 2017

Summertime, And The Livin' Is Easy

Wow. How time flies, fun or no fun, right? I meant to take a short sabbatical for the summer. Did
not mean for it to be so long. And now I'm itching to get back at it. Summertime, whether you
travel or not, seems to present events and activities that are exclusive to this time of the year. Friends
and families gather to celebrate the hazy, crazy, lazy days that fly so quickly into Autumn. As you
travel up and down the highways and byways, you see driveways crowded with cars - for Memorial
Day, 4th of July or just Sunday afternoon. People are on the patio, in the yard.....gathering to
celebrate whatever!
Restaurants and such places as wineries, etc., seem busier, more crowded. And if you see an
outdoor beer garden, it's usually jammed with people. Wednesdays and Thursdays become pre-weekend days. Why wait for the weekend!? As I relax on one of my porches on any
given day or evening of the week, I see vehicle after vehicle passing north or south, pulling beautiful
boats to or from the lakes. Just stepping outside in the evening, I can smell the aromas that tell of
nearby outside grilling. Oh, the hazy, crazy, lazy days.........wait. Lazy? I think not, anymore.

But I remember lazy and I'll bet you do too. As I so often do in this column, I think back and this time to the days when summertime did seem lazy and relaxed. Slow. Timeless. Careless. More gentle to the senses. Certainly as a child and teen, life was so very different. It wasn't perfect. Life had its
difficulties. But looking back, it seemed that from the end of May till Labor Day, time in general just stopped. We didn't have air conditioning - haha! Well, just a window unit that my father
wouldn't let us use. We had fans. But my sister Charmaine and I were outside so much. We rode
bikes, played Indian ball, croquet, badminton and tag with the neighborhood kids. We had
lemonade stands where we felt rich if we made fifty cents! We stayed outside late, sometimes
10 p.m. if we stood under the street light where mother could see us from the front door. And she'd
always let us sleep late in the summertime. Sometimes other adults would play the guilt card and
say that THEY didn't let THEIR kids sleep late. But mother didn't weaken. As long as we were willing to do our chores when we got up, we got to sleep late in the morning. And somehow the heat didn't seem to bother us very much back then. We just dealt with it. I deal with it now, too, by staying in the AC if at all possible! My, how time changes most things.

I was never quite ready for school to start. I dreaded it. But as it got closer to the end of August (because we actually stayed out till after Labor Day), I can recall feeling a thrill at starting back. I still remember the smell of the school building during those first few days back. Can any of you relate to that? Crazy how that has stayed with me. And seeing classmates I hadn't seen through the summer......that was exciting. Remember those oxford blue canvas three ring binder notebooks we all had? Starting back to school usually meant getting a new one that didn't have doodles written all over it from the year before. And there was always a new kid or two to get to know. Sometimes you'd
realize that an old friend and classmate was no longer there - they'd moved away during the summer.
Often through the years I've wondered what happened to those kids - gone forever from our lives.

Without a doubt, things have changed since the LAST CENTURY! Kids absolutely don't play
outside like we did. And I think that's partly our fault, as adults. And partly just the fault of "progress" which has provided so much technology.....the same technology that allows me to post this blog for you to read. I remember when Jamey was little, being able to hear the sounds of kids playing at dusk, around suppertime. That memory causes me to smile. But realistically, in this day and age, perhaps parents don't feel as secure letting their kids run the neighborhoods, out of parental sight.
I remember that Jamey was allowed to ride his bicycle as far as the Dairy Queen on Stacey Street,
just a few blocks from home. When I needed him to come home for supper or whatever, I would
go out to the back porch and scream his name - really scream. He said he could actually hear me
at the Dairy Queen! Smile. And in a couple of minutes he'd come pedaling up the alley or up
George Street toward home! Oh, how I miss those days. Sorry, too sentimental, I know.

Well, don't despair. Summer isn't over. There's still time to enjoy it, to do those fun things you still want to do before school starts, before the weather changes, before Fall is upon us. It's just been
so, so hot this summer and I'm really enjoying these few days of lower temps and less humidity.
I find myself sitting 'on the porch' probably way too late at night -after most of you are in bed. That's
one thing that hasn't changed for me. I never wanted to go to bed at night when I was a kid - always
afraid I'd miss something. I still feel that way. I push the day into evening and the evening into very
late night and the late night into early morning. And since I'm retired - I can sleep a little later in
the morning - just so I'm willing to do my "chores" when I get up. Mother would approve.

And so.....perhaps I'll see you 'on the porch'. And squeeze as much as you can into the next few
weeks. Make memories.


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