This is a somewhat unconventional but hopefully inspiring memoir blog. At the age of 48 I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Since then I have started looking at things differently. I reconnected with my world. I also turned to my first passion, writing, part of which ended up being this. I hope through the dog's breakfast of reflections and recollections I offer on this blog that people, no matter who you are, will identify with my experiences and maybe find some inspiration in them.
A few days ago my friend, Marko, sent
out a message sharing his favorite memories of summer and asked others to share
theirs. When I received the message I got into a kind of poetic mood, so I
decided to write a poem.
As I wrote it I thought of all the
great summers I had as a little kid. I also thought about the boys I hung out with when I
was a young man starting to grow up. Boys named Danny, John, Ross, Sam, Tommy, Mike, and the one boy who was
nicknamed Putter by his father, because his dad loved golf. I think a lot about
those boys sometimes. We had a lot of laughs. They were great
friends who gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do as I moved on in
I also thought about the girls. They
were all so smart and pretty that it was easy to secretly fall in love with them
when you were in your early teens. They
were girls from around the surrounding blocks, who we all hung out with or who
we knew from school. Girls named Anne, Bridget, Lisa, Sarah, and Linda. They
were girls you never dated but who became over time some of your favorite
friends. I especially liked Bridget because she would always tell me that I worried too much. She would say, "Why worry about today when it's gonna completely change tomorrow." I still keep that in mind, though I'm not always good at it.
One particular summer I remember is the
one just before we started high school.
That summer was pretty raucous.
There were a lot of poker parties, and nights, sometimes in the rain,
where we would roam around the neighborhood and make mischief. One night on a lark we thought about stealing
hubcaps. We were not very good at it, so we abandoned the project. Instead what
we did was go around unscrewing various neighbors’ doorknobs where we
could. Some things seem really funny to
you when you’re fourteen. I know my boys
have gotten into some mischief in their younger days but I would rather have
them doing a little harmless mischief than having them spend their entire summer
in the basement in front of a video screen.
When I wrote the poem for Marko I was
mostly thinking about the summers I
had when I was a kid. As I re-read it
and did my editing, I thought it was remarkable how much it resembled the
summer days and weekends that my two boys and my daughter got to have when they
were young. I wasn’t usually around a lot during the week because I was always
working late or traveling. I did,
however, do my best to be home on the weekends, especially in the summer, when
things were a bit slower at work, and they weren’t quite so preoccupied by
school and the activities in their life. I loved watching summer unfold on
those weekends. I’m happy that my kids had the same kind of summer experiences
that me, my wife, and a lot of my friends had when we were that age.
Here is the poem:
Kids running through the yards
Skinned knees and mosquito bites
What we called "summer legs"
Swimming in pools
Biking through the prairie
Playing games in the street:
Kick the Can
Lightning bugs in a jar
Sweaty boys playing ball in the yard or
Girls giggling and Sleeping in tents
Lying in the grass and
Looking at the moon
Sitting with the garage door open
Watching the rain
Moms tsking and rolling their eyes
Sleeping at night
With windows open
Drinking ice tea and lemonade
By fans during the day
Cooking food outdoors with neighbors
Picnics and festivals
Finally, leaving your winter shell behind
Ice cream trucks
A slushy from the convenient store
Watching furtive and awkward first kisses
In the dark out on the swing set
A quiet moment
When you sit
That summertime won’t go by too fast. Nevertheless It always does.