Sunday, September 9, 2012

Was That Summer?, Or Just A Hot Flash

(From today's TIMES and NEWS-STAR)

I asked her how her summer went.

“What summer?” she said.

Time, especially summertime, can really get away from you.

It reminds me of the two snails who were driving their snail cars and got in a wreck, and the policeman snail asked a bystander snail what he saw.

“Well,” the pedestrian snail said, kneading his hands, looking blank-eyed toward the intersection, “I mean, I don’t know. I’m not sure officer. It all just … it happened so fast.”

(begin ital.) Zoom zoom…(end ital.)

One minute it’s Memorial Day, the next it’s watermelon for the Fourth of July, and suddenly you’re at Office Depot buying notebooks and loose leaf.

Summer, or hot flashes?

Where DID the summer go?

It went to cheer camp, spirit sticks and sports bras. I am the step-father of a 16-year-old cheerleader these days and have been forced to pay attention to such things. The other day we had to buy a cammo T-shirt for a pep rally and right there by the T-shirt rack in the mall, I practically made her try the “Youth Large” on over her other clothes, which she was “sure would fit,” but I was afraid (terrified!) would be too tight. It wasn’t. In her opinion. (Should have gotten the Youth XL but don’t get me started.)

Summer went to Little League, to sunflower seeds, to trips to the concession stand and to the emergency room. One of my young friends, a high school senior now, stepped on what he thought was a sharp shell in the ocean. Two weeks and a baseball tournament later, he finally went to the doctor. Stingray barbs in his foot. He’d stepped on a stingray, doing stingray things down there in the sand. Seriously, what are the odds? The doctor dug the barbs out, my young friend was on crutches for two weeks, and he’s still counting his blessings. I don’t know what happened to the stingray, but you know how they are. No card. No call.

Speaking of baseball and boys, part of the summer was swallowed up in a trip to see the Texas Rangers. Four grownups and 15 high school boys. We hit the truck stop at Highway 271 (the one with marble sinks in the bathroom!), caught Happy Hour at Sonic by the Ballpark in Arlington, watched the game in temperatures that can only be described as Equator Hot, then church bussed home. I don’t do trips that end at 4 a.m. as well as I used to. Where did the stamina go?

Summer went to a trip to the Redneck Riviera, where cutoff jeans are the poor man’s board shorts. Summer went to homemade ice cream in a folding chair by the RV and in a folding chair in the church’s fellowship hall. It went to sunburn and suntan and skeeter bites and fireflies.

Summer went to bare feet and sundresses and late-night milkshake runs, to books you stayed up late reading and movies you stayed up late watching, something you felt you could do and not be tired the next morning, since the sun stayed up late too. (Wrong!)

Summer went to torpedoed wasps nests (“Everybody go inside while I spray this stuff!”), discussions of heat and humidity and rain, regret over lists of neglected summertime to-do lists, and arguments about the upcoming football season.

Which is here. And will be gone before we know it. Because, I guess, that’s the way time is. I mean, I don’t know, time just…it happens so fast.