Back in the early 1960s, Nat King Cole sang a song about summer. “Bring back those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer….”
One adjective rings true: crazy.
I keep thinking about that song this summer. Drop-off and pick-ups are staggered throughout the day; ball games and practices into the late evening. I knew it going in: The family’s summer schedule is far crazier than the school year one. Was I really wishing for school? Already?
I had stumbled to the end of the school year so focused on family that I neglected my friends. All of them. As I hopped from one kid activity to the next I was unintentionally ignoring people. I caught up with bleacher buddies at ball games and I sat with some mom-friends at 8th grade graduation — but everything was kid-centered; our visits were collateral perks.
Summer wasn’t changing that.
Nat sang in my head and I longed for the lazy and hazy parts; I was craving the soda and pretzels and beer and the time to share them with my friends.
One crazy morning, I got it. A neighbor and I stole some lazy from the crazy.
We had coffee and blueberries instead of pretzels and beer. It wasn’t hazy either, the day was one of those when, if you ignore the reality, you could swear you are on a resort. Coolish breeze, dry air, bright blue sky. It wasn’t a day for household chores or locking ourselves in our home offices — it was a day for basking. Realistically, it was an hour for basking.
A full hour!
One of the things I love most about the house I live in is the front porch. Not simply a landing, a proper front porch with plants and ants and rocking chairs. We took our coffee to those chairs and claimed the slow pace of our stolen hour. We talked about the kind of things that two women who have known each other since we took our soon-to-be high school freshmen boys to preschool. Our conversation cued an avian parade cruising low over the house — a blue heron, then three gold finches contrasted against the dark blue sky.
And then she told me about how she is slowing down and doing something for herself.
In a couple weeks she and a two other moms from our neighborhood are traveling the Katy Trail on an organized adventure from Clinton to St. Charles, Mo. That’s 253 miles. In five days. On a bike.
She told me about her training and the adventure of slowly crossing most of the state. The part that touched me the most is what a personal accomplishment completing this ride will be for her.
Sometimes I need a billboard to tell me what my next step should be. I don’t take subtle hints very well — I want it big, bold and obvious.
As my friend was delighting me with her plans, a police car hauling a small trailer pulled up in front of my house. Within moments the two officers had set up a large radar speed sign. The reason for the sign: people don’t always realize that they are going too fast.
The point of the sign was to remind people to slow down.
Like my friend on her amazing adventure, taking the time to slow down and accomplish something for herself for a change.
Like we did in that hour of coffee and chat. The sign reminded me that if I slow down just a bit, I won’t miss the birds and the breezes.
Maybe I will wish that summer would always be here.
Susan Vollenweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.