Old Man Winter recalls boyhood summers
BackstoryThe calendar informs The Ice Age is almost nigh, but the chill in the air announces nigh is now. Even so, my reveries are often filled with the yester summers of my youth, populated, as they were, by buzzing insects, scurrying lizards, and the simple fun we kids in the neighborhood regularly invented. Recreational activities actively recreated everyday.
When a family purchased a new refrigerator or washer, we'd appropriate the empty appliance box, flatten the cardboard, and ascend a hill. Whooosh! Back up again. Whooosh again.
The creek in the area teemed with crayfish ("crawdads"). Easily caught with an old door or window screen placed in a shady area for a few hours. When the "net" was later lifted, voilà! Some were used as fishing bait. Otherwise, the "little lobsters" were returned to the murky shallows. Catch, look, and release.
There was an odd plant, whose name I never knew, that was like velcro. We'd pull it by the bunches and then throw several on one another's clothing. No one was hurt. No one complained. No one was sued. No one thought about suing. Everyone thought about the fun of throwing a sticky plant on somebody. And about the fun of being victimized by a sticky plant. Cheap fun. Great fun.
Baseball in the street. Basketball in the backyard. Hide and seek. Tag. Video games in which we were the video and the games.
And June bugs. Big, green, shiny beetles that were grasped while they lumbered along the ground -- though they could fly. That was their appeal. A length of string would be tied to one of the thick hind legs. Then when cleared for take-off, tossed in the air. Remote controlled aircraft in a holding pattern. When the flight was over, the beetle would be untethered and returned to Earth to recount a harrowing tale of being kidnapped by giants.
Such were adventures with strung out bugs and the sundry idyllic indulgences of my summer youth. They don't make fun like that anymore.