This past month in Oklahoma has been brutal! Our temperatures have soared past 100 degrees for twenty days already and we’ve had very little rain. It’s been a tinderbox so far and despite the fact you can cook a steak on the sidewalk, I love summer — even the blistering hot ones.
Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
I love summer because of all the memories I had growing up as a kid. It was a period in life where time just seemed to stop and days were filled with no worries, lots of laughter, and a community of friends all having a great time. We didn’t have an Xbox or iPhone to hold us prisoner in the house; we lived free in an outdoor world that provided every form of entertainment you could ever imagine. Neighbors didn’t hide in their homes but spent evenings sitting on porches sharing a cold beverage and wonderful stories with each other. Kids played war, soccer, football, tag, and hide and seek all up and down the street, from sun up to sun down.
All that has changed. I don’t see kids playing in the streets anymore and spotting your neighbor is as rare as a Bigfoot sighting. Summer time has changed but I still remember.
Hot Summer Nights (and My Radio)
Some of my best memories are hanging out in my dad’s workshop in the back yard. We’d sit and listen to everyone from Van Halen to Roy Orbison to Elvis on the two-speaker cassette radio and would talk about everything in life. Friends and neighbors would come over and join us at all times. There was never an agenda or plan … just life as it came.
There were also the hours spent collecting grasshoppers and cicadas, fishing for crawfish in the creek behind us, or making ten foot straws at Braums. We even did mischievous things like sneaking into the drive in movie theatre down the road or water-ballooning cars as they drove by our creek. Even painful things such stubbing your big toe on the hot asphalt brought a big smile and a war story eventually.
Maybe these nostalgic memories of my summers resonate more deeply now because I finally realize I am getting older. I used to mock the adults who reminisced about the “good ole days” thinking they had lost their minds, but now I understand, and I too have days where I dream of days gone by.
Best of Both Worlds
There is great news however. Even though for some of us those “good ole days” are way behind us, we still have a future where we can make awesome memories as well! I love many of the days in my past but I don’t want to live there; I want to live for today and to create a new set of memories. We can have the best of both worlds but we have to make a conscious effort to do it.
Do something different today or this week.
Shut down the computer and go swimming. Turn off your smart phone and go engage in conversations with your family or neighbors. Go outside and play for a change instead of watching another four hours of reality TV. And if you are dumb and crazy enough – go ahead and water balloon that teenager who speeds down your residential street. Just be prepared to run really fast!
Go make more summer memories before it’s too late.