Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Rules






Stay out until the street lights come on, and the skeeters start to bite. Catch a few lightning bugs in your back yard, as you drag yourself into the house. Put them in a mayonnaise jar with holes in the lid. Set them on the stand beside your bed. Sneak the flashlight under the covers and read for as long as you can.

Morning, listen to the birds chirping through your window. Hey, the lightning bugs escaped! At least they'll be more tonight. Eat a bowl of cereal while you sit on the floor and watch some boring TV. Help around the house, till it's time to walk to the pool. Stay there until supper time when they kick you out. Walk home or sometimes get a ride in the car of a friend, who lives outside of town. Play until the street lights come on: Baseball, tag, statute, or a game you made up with your friends. Catch more lightning bugs for your jar. Maybe Dad can put up your pup tent and you sleep outside with that friend tonight.

Listen to the night sounds, the wind in the leaves, the crickets, the train whistle downtown. Talk about everything and nothing as you lay watching for shooting stars. Maybe at midnight, a rain drives you to your porch. Mom's there waiting and Dad pulls down the tent. The jar remains under your arm, as you trod up the stairs, disappointed the night goes inside. But your pillow feels good and then the day dawns bright. You do it again, but this time with a friend. Cross legged on the floor with cereal in a bowl and the TV show is more fun shared. Dad takes you on errands around town, until it's time to swim. The suit’s ready with your tag and off to the pool with a few extra quarters today for an ice cream sandwich. Swim all day again, with no thought of your skin.

Ah, Mom wants you to practice the piano and your damp legs make dull marks on the bench. You stare more than play, till she shouts OK. Then hop on a bike and ride around town.

Hair doesn’t get washed till Saturday night. No overnights on Saturday, because church is the next day. Everyone goes to their own church and no one argues, we just believe in God. You don’t care if your friend crosses herself before meals and she doesn’t care that you don’t.

A rainy day, you play in a friend’s basement and watch lightning streak through the house and you say, “Oh, gosh.” You tell each other tales of lightning strikes and they must be true. TV is unplugged and maybe you read that book you fell asleep reading the night before.

Days of summer and never say you’re bored. Take a trip to the shore, but you miss your friends. Still it’s nice to have Mom and Dad always there. Soon, you’re back and then, one friend is gone, comes back, then another goes on her adventure. You tell of your vacations and enjoy their toys. As you get older, it’s camps and vacation Bible schools. You go to everyone’s in town with your friends. Arts and crafts, kool aid and cookies. Songs with motions and a story. You may get mixed up on the timelines, but you have a fun time. Play Red Rover because there are more kids than just your neighbors.

One day, you realize the nights come faster and chill creeps in at evening. A car ride to the mall to shop for clothes. You’re sad, but secretly glad to go back to school. You miss some of those friends you didn’t see all summer. The days grow shorter and shorter, the pool seems dull and cold. A last-minute trip to an amusement park or the fair and yes, you take along a friend. Summer winds down, but you will always remember summer rules.
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