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Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Favorite Time of Year!

There is just something about this time of year that is electric. The long days seem to energize my spirit and the warm weather beckons me. I suppose at this point I should qualify ... I don't live where this time of year means you run from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned office. Nope, I reside in the northeast corner of the US where summer brings warmth with moderate humidity and sun without heat ... total weather bliss after long winters.

I remember when the amount of time left of the school year could be counted in days and not weeks. My mom actually let us ride our bikes a couple of miles to school through the woods instead of taking the long convoluted bus ride over the country roads. In the afternoons all the windows in our classrooms would be lifted and doors to the outside propped open so we could smell the fresh air and hear the sweet strains of summer calling us. One year our dog, lonely at home alone, ran into the school building through those open doors. There was nothing so funny as my brother and I watching my older sister and two teachers running up the hall screaming "Ralph, no!" Yeah, our dog's attitude fit his name. The fact that our teachers knew who this medium beagle strutting up the hall with his tail held high belonged to, stunned us all. I think in the end he spent the last hour of school in my sister's classroom before following us home on our bikes.

I always loved the end of the year activities. There was the annual picnic barbeque at lunch. And field day. Remember field day? Playing kickball against the teachers or running three legged races with your best friend. *sigh* I loved it all. Stacking books and scrubbing desk tops. And then the sweet freedom when we burst through the doors of the school on the last day with our book bags filled with all the detritus we'd pulled from the dark depths of our desks, all the broken pencils, crayon nubs and spiral notebooks whose wires had become dangerous weapons. And held tight in my hand was my final report card revealing the name of next year's teacher.

And ahead of me ten weeks of unscheduled time to do nothing but fritter away the days with my friends or hanging out in the woods making tree houses that never seemed to be finished. When it was hot we rode our bikes to the river, swimming and lounging on the rocks or flirting with boys who acted like dragging a lure through the water drowning worms was so much more interesting than we girls in our little bikinis.

We drank Kool-aid by the gallons and ate potato chips by the pound. But no one worried we would gain too much weight, not when we were running around the neighborhood with our friends playing a warped version of hide-n-go-seek. We mowed lawns, babysat younger kids and slept in tents in the yard.

Oh, how I miss those lazy days. I watch my young nephews and neices whose summers are filled with soccer and baseball. Piano lessons and karate. There's no quiet time laying in the grass watching the cloud dragon chase the puffy turtle across the sky. No time to sit and admire a spider spinning a web across the daisy blossoms. Not a spare minute to blow bubbles for the cat to chase. It makes me sad they won't know the pleasure of having nothing to do ... to wake in the morning with no agenda.

I'm so glad I have those memories. With the bright summer stretched out in front of me I will make time to sit in a lounge chair in the sun and read a book and sip a gin & tonic. I'll enjoy street fairs and family barbeques and hopefully feel a little bit of that summer freedom from my youth.

What about you? Any plans or non-plans for the summer ahead?


Paris said...

Oh, I remember those lazy days of summer very fondly and have often wondered the same thing. I sometimes worry that kids today with their busy schedules will never learn how to relax but then I watch the kids in the neighborhood on their bikes and skateboards or walking to the pool with their older sibs and know that summer has arrived in my small town.

Sandy said...

Oh yes, Nina, you brought back the nostalgia of those lazy days. I remember climbing the hedge trees separating us from one of our neighbors a mile away. I remember lying on the ground watching the clouds move and take different shapes. It was a wonderful time, and we didn't have a care in the world. We didn't have to worry about being kidnapped or someone harassing us. It was a gentler and kinder time.

Nina Pierce said...

Paris - You know, that's the thing ... will these busy children grow up and learn how to relax doing nothing? I love watching kids just playing at the pool or the park during the summer.

Nina Pierce said...

Sandy - No we didn't have to worry that we weren't safe. It was definitely a gentler world as you said. I still hope my grandson will know some of that joy that we experienced.

Marianne Stephens said...

I remember all you mentioned. We'd "hang out" together, go the the pool, play stick ball, sit in yards and talk.
Some parents think kids need an agenda for the summer...and may jam their free time with all sorts of activities. But, it's a new age; new generation and different ideas.
Thanks for the memories!

Suz said...

It's very hot many days here in SacTown but the payoff are our wonderful summer nights! I like to stroll around midtown on 2d Saturday and look at art, have a few icy boozy drinks...oh yeah, summertime rocks.

Mary Corrales said...

Summers are a rather magical time for a kid. I remember playing outside all day, climbing up and down the mountain behind our house. At least it looked like a mountain to me.

Now, as an adult it's the summer nights I enjoy. They're so peaceful and relaxing.

Nina Pierce said...

Marianne - Glad I could take you down memory lane.

Nina Pierce said...

Suz - Oh, sitting outside on a summer night sipping wine and listening to crickets is the best. They are lovely. I hope you get a chance to enjoy them over the next few months.

Nina Pierce said...

Mary - The starry nights are definitely something I seem to enjoy more as an adult than I did as a kid! Enjoy your summer!

Adele Dubois said...

I loved your post, Nina. I'm with you--summer is absolutely my favorite time of year. The sunshine does wonders for my spirit. DH and I spend as much time as possible at the beach, our favorite place to be.

Enjoy the next few months!


LKF said...

What great memories you brought back, and yes I do remember those popsicle makers. :} We were never in the house, or even around the house. Always running, riding our bikes or just hanging out in the apple tree. Kids today spend too much time inside, and you're right they don't just sit on the porch and see what shapes they can make out of the clouds. My summer is going to be spent writing and visiting my kids. I love to travel and they live in great vacation spots. Loved your post, thanks for sharing.

Nina Pierce said...

Adele - OMG! The beach! I LOVE the beach. I grew up on the beach. Unfortunately Mr. Nina is a beach bum. And it's really not good for my MS ... but sitting on the back deck in the sunshine is such a joy.

And I'm going to get one of those convertibles (like you) so Mr. Nina and I can do some cruising!

Enjoy your summer!

Sandy said...

I just thought of something else we did as kids. We caught fireflies and put them in a jar after we punched holes in the lid.

I just saw some fireflies in our back yard last night. It was so much fun, and we always let them go when we quit catching them.

Nina Pierce said...

LFK - Oh, spending the summer visiting your kids sounds just perfect. I hope you have lots of chances to spend time outside breathing fresh air and enjoying the warm weather.

Nina Pierce said...

Sandy - Oh, we used to do the same thing and put them by our bed. We also had a pond where we found frog eggs ... all jelly and gooshy. Weeks later we'd play with the polywogs. Oh, I'd forgotten that!!

Cris Anson said...

We played baseball in the empty lot across the street. When asked what position I wanted to play, it was always "batter." What did I know? I couldn't catch or throw. Also, I remember hanging upside down by my knees on one of the trees lining the street.

One of my fondest summer memories was when we were like 7 or 8 and it was hot hot hot. (No air conditioning then.) Dad would chip ice from the ice box (yep, the iceman delivered a huge cube every week), put the chips in a tall glass and fill it with water, then add a spear of fresh cucumber to stir it, like a real drink. It was a treasure to us because it gave us time to sit on the back stoop with Daddy.

B.C. Brown said...

My summer was spent riding my bike, swimming at the local pool, and playing in the woods near my best friend's house. We ate hot dogs, guzzled Kool-Aid, picked wild strawberries; we climbed trees to sit and read, hardly speaking. I do say we were the kings and queens of summer nothingness. As an adult, I try to remember to recapture some of that laziness. I spent 1 month of the summer in a whirlwind of activity. Then I spend 2 months trying to wind down from so much to do!

Thank you for the stroll down memory lane. And, thanks to my grandmother, I still have those Popsicle makers. :)

BC Brown ~ Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
"Because Weird is Good."

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