Saturday, August 9, 2008

We Stay Awake and Think of Things...


I woke up today and it was the clearest, bluest, summer day I've seen, well, probably all summer. Or maybe it was because I actually got about 9 hours of sleep last night, which is much more than the typical four or five I'm used to these days. But as I've spoken of before, the bitter and the sweet, while I was thinking of what a perfect, state fair, summer day it was, I was also reminded that summer was almost over. So, I decided to invent a new holiday. Present Day. Present day can be once a week or once a month, or whenever you feel like it. I have a feeling for me, Present Day will come more often than not. The rules and celebration for present day are that you buy yourself something that you don't really need, something that you wouldn't normally buy yourself, but you also have to buy something for someone else at the same place you bought your present. So, I went to the bookstore with the intention of buying this Malcolm McLaren "Paris" CD, which is impossible to find. They didn't have it. I then remembered that my favorite author, Stewart O'Nan, had published a new book recently, so I tried to find that. They didn't have it. Then I went into the children's section, because yesterday I had bought all these crazy stuffed animals for my couch at my new place, and being that I'm a recovering addict, thought I needed more. Needless to say, the selection they offered bored me. But looking around, I suddenly came upon this book I had loved as a child. In fact, I had loved it so much that Shawn had bought me a copy, which I had lost. So, I bought it again. The book, "Summer", by Alice Low, is a definitive must have for all lovers of summer. I then walked around the finance section...very boring...looking for a few books for a good friend of mine, the reason I had gone to the bookstore in the first place. After making my purchase, I walked out and went to my Mom's house, which is where I'll be moving at the end of October. It was a beautiful night outside and I opened the back patio. I could hear the cicada outside, which my dad had always said meant it was time to go back to school. I looked through several CD's and finally put on the soundtrack of "To Kill a Mockingbird". And I realized. Summer is almost over. It will get cold, and just like Scout and Jem, the kids will go back to school. But really, isn't summer a state of mind? I mean all of the things I really love about summer, I can find in any other season. But for some reason, maybe the music, or the thought of Scout and Jem and Dill playing made me sad. Really sad and I lost it completely. Lost it like I hadn't cried in a long time. And then like a miracle, one of my mom's best friend's, her Pi Phi sorority mother from Denver, called me. "So, you've been out here four times this summer and you haven't called once to see your old Aunt Susie?" And she had me laughing again, like all those times that she and Dory and Carrie would come to visit in the summer. And we'd all stay up late at night, having Pi Phi cookie shines and singing the old Pi Phi songs. And Carrie and I would crawl into my mom's room and scare she and Susie until we fell asleep laughing on the floor. Those are the things of summer. Those are the things I remember. The Indiana State Fair with the baby pigs, playing ghost in the graveyard, checking out fifty books from the library but only reading one, craw dad hunting and wading in the creek behind our house, sleepovers and watching The Newlywed Game late on Friday nights, Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Charlie's Angels, those cheap fruit drinks that come in plastic barrels with aluminum on the top, mosquito bites, the sound of the crickets through my bedroom window, my dog Benji, swimming all day, and later, smoking Camels with my friends, drinking Boone's Farm and Purple Passion, stealing real estate signs and construction cones and putting them in our friends driveways and driving around until curfew. Those are all the things of summer. So maybe Present Day is really about keeping memories alive, and making new ones. But this all goes out to a new friend, because he was the reason I walked into that bookstore today anyway. And he's the reason I remembered all of this. It's not much, just a new friend, but that's a lot these days. And I'll remember how we got cokes at Speedway late at night and drove around smoking cigarettes getting to know each other. And I hope he doesn't read this before I give him his books. But, in case no one reads "Summer", which would be a complete shame, I'll leave you with my favorite part. The end, which is funny, because I hate endings to everything, as all of my friends know. But here it goes. "We ask a farmer, will you stop and let us ride back home on top? We let the fireflies go away. The moon is out. It lights our way. We hear the horse go clop-clop-clop. Our pup goes fast asleep on top. We stay awake and think of things...the happy things that summer brings!"

1 comment:

Fancy Flamingo said...

Reading this post and thinking about summers past, the first thing I remembered was when you and me and Jared went swimming in the pool at Scandia after the Dave Matthews show....how many years ago was that, anyway?