"Don't cry when the sun is gone, the tears won't let you see the stars." ~ Violeta Parra
I remember when I was younger and it seemed like my entire life lay before me. It didn’t matter what decisions I made, whether to come or go, because I felt like if I made a wrong turn or took a path that didn’t suit me I could always double back to the fork in the road.
I remember when summer resembled about a 1/2 year. Whoever decided to measure summer in weeks should be jailed in a 3-season cell. I remember lying in the grass along the road less traveled where I grew up and watching the sun go down and the moon come up.
I remember thinking that I wish I could freeze frame the distinct time of evening; after a magnificent sunset, and just before heavy darkness fell. It was only a minute span of time until the faint, flashing glow of the fireflies became miniature turn signals directing the whole village of insects up and down the yard, on random roadways.
I remember sitting on my porch in Michigan in the middle of July and thinking, this might be one of the most glorious summer nights of the summer. And then, with what seemed like the speed of light, the evil-life-summer thief arrived, the cicadas started their song, and with one fell swoop the whole world took on the aura of fall and middle age.
I remember last minute camping vacations that declared, “we will squeeze a few more days of fun and frolic out of you whether you like it or not.” We watched Nixon resign at Raccoon Lake in Northern Indiana on the neighbor’s mini motor home TV. It was that summer that I “learned” to slalom water ski and ate 1/2 of my lettuce, cheese, onion, and hamburger bun before I realized the patty lay unclaimed on the charcoal. Ahhhh, the summer of ‘74.
It was on one of those late summer camping trips we celebrated my Dad’s 50th birthday. Whatever!
I don’t remember what I did in particular on late summer evenings, besides listening to the cicada choir, catching fireflies, and waiting for the county fair to start.
I don’t remember thinking about how life was a vapor at my DAD’S 50th party.
I don’t remember pining for summers to slow down.
The cadence of time was not within my control, I even had the audacity to look forward to the schedules, clothes, and fresh start that fall would bring. I don’t remember when late summer and early fall was not my favorite time of year.
I don’t remember when I would pass the point of fresh start with my grades and studies and just hang on for dear life until the marking period passed.
I don’t remember what I did in particular after the school day ended. I don’t remember when a bologna sandwich on white bread with cheese and miracle whip was not a comfort food to me.
I don’t remember when I discovered the fact that hostess Twinkies had a shelf life of 2 years.
I don’t remember exactly what the clothes looked like or what styles were “in”, but I still get excited in the morning when I have a new outfit to wear.
I don’t remember when the day came when the unwritten rule that girls did not wear pants to school was broken.
I don’t remember ever feeling cheated out of a summer like I do today. Grrrrrrrr, the summer of ‘O4.
What I do remember, clearly, is when the simple life had absolutely nothing to do with a reality TV show.