Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Making the best of Summer 2024

I’m not sure how kids these days spend their summer vacation. I haven’t kept up with the trends. I don’t know what’s “in” and what’s “out.” I wouldn’t know the difference between something that’s dope and lit over something that’s sus and vanilla.

I probably sound a bit Grandpa just asking the question, but since I’m okay with that, let’s move on.

Do kids climb trees anymore? Do they play with sticks? Do they have the recipe for a perfectly juicy mud pie? What about tying knots? Can they tell the difference between a granny knot and a clove hitch? And have they ever helped crank into existence a tub of homemade vanilla ice cream?

I tell ya, we have some good school districts around here, but there’s plenty of good things parents can do with their children during summer break that isn’t taught in school. Unfortunately, the time is short, and if you don’t use it wisely, you’ll be heading down the pathway to ever-lasting regret. 

When I was young, we lived in a house that had two mimosa trees in the front yard. They were perfect for climbing, sitting, disappearing into the upper branches so as not to be found. The house where my own children grew up is surrounded by mostly pine trees. Climbing them wasn’t in the cards. 

So, I should have built them a tree house. We could’ve climbed the rope ladder and spent the night gazing up through the branches at the moon and stars. Learned the names of every constellation. Watched for satellites.

A lot of limbs have fallen out of those trees over the years. I’d gather them up and put them in a pile to burn. I remember once or twice even roasting some hotdogs and marshmallows over those flames. But once or twice does not a family tradition make.

I should have lit more bonfires over the years, roasted more hotdogs, made more s’mores. My kids could’ve invited their friends over and we would’ve sat in lawn chairs and sang silly songs. Told Dad Jokes. Chased fireflies.

My daughter loved making mud pies. She got the recipe from her mother. I’m not sure what I was doing. Obviously, not getting my hands dirty. But now I know that with kids, you’ve GOT to get your hands dirty. Dig holes in the ground. Pick up frogs. Blow on dandelions so that they explode like supernovas. Having to wash your hands is a small price to pay for playing with the universe.

I have a bag of rock salt that has been in my kitchen pantry for years. I bought it thinking I would gather the kids together during summer vacation and we’d all crank away at making some homemade peach or maybe peppermint ice cream. I even bought a new ice cream maker just for the occasion. 

But, way too soon, the kids were gone. Off doing this or that. Getting jobs. Getting married. Going places. Having kids. And here it is again, summer vacation, and that bag of rock salt is still sitting there, having no qualms about whispering into my ear, “You blew it. You had your one chance, and you blew it.”

I hope you and your children have a good summer vacation making sand castles, painting pictures, watching lizards crawl across the bedroom window, enjoying all those things that long-lasting memories are made of. Don’t blow it. Summer 2024 ain’t coming back this way again. 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Duolingo anniversary. Did I learn anything?

Today marks the 365th day of my Duolingo journey. I still can't speak German, or understand German spoken conversations, but I can tell you that witches sometimes have bears as pets, Octoberfest begins in September, and that your mother makes the best cakes -- sehr lecker!

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Consensual Text

Bobby Tillman in a text he sent to his true lover,
wrote, “You’re the one for me, my dear, there’ll never be another.
Why don’t you stay with me tonight, we'll watch the setting sun?
We'll stay up all the night, my dear, together we'll be one.

I’ll cook you eggs for breakfast and I’ll bring it to our bed.
A glass of milk, a cup of tea, or orange juice instead.
And as the morning rays shoot through the curtains on the wall,
I’ll whisper in your ear, my dear, you are my one and all."

Then Bobby Tillman waited for his lover’s sweet reply,
and when it came he read it fast, then fell back with a sigh.
It said, “Although your invitation makes me stop and ponder,
I think you’ve erred in one small way. I’m sorry. Wrong number.”