Since no one showed up to the North Church potential historic district tour last night, I was home at 8pm. You might think this is late, but for me recently, pulling up to the curb with the number 7 preceding other numbers on the clock was pretty darn awesome.
I took the opportunity to sit on our front porch and read for a little bit, but I kept getting distracted by the beauty of the evening. The green grass mowed into neat lines with military precision. The sun setting to the west, creating fingers of golden light streaming towards me. The potted flowers spilling out of their containers in a riot of maroon, yellow and royal blue. The still quiet of the slightest breeze. My legs browning up from outdoor tanning and exercise. That wonderful temperature of evening in the summer.
Sitting there made me think of summer evenings when I was a kid. I spent a lot of shuffling back and forth between my grandparents houses in Colton, Washington, on the Palouse. It was a great way to grow up, and although my Welch’s freezer pop has been replaced with a Corona and lime, my appreciation for summer evenings has not changed.
I used to sit on my grandma Joyce’s back porch with a book I’d raided from her collection of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele novels. I swear I learned more about sex from those books than I did from any class or friend!
I’d sit out there with my romance novel and Popsicle and read until I couldn’t see the page. Beyond the book’s pages and as the summer lapsed the wheat fields would turn from green to gold. The chik-chik--chik-chikcachikachikachikachika-chik-chik-chik of the sprinkler played the soundtrack to my summers, along with the 6 o’clock siren that would wail every evening for reasons I now forget.
I’d move inside, say goodnight to grandma and grandpa, and either read in the living room or my bedroom until my eyes couldn’t stay open. Grandma’s snoring replaced the rhythm of the sprinkler, and the open window always smelled like turning wheat.
My grandma Jan also lives just outside of Colton, and I spend similar amounts of time there in the summer. My memories of the Kramer farm are different; eating tootsie pops all day long, drinking diet Pepsi until I felt sick because we weren’t sure the cistern was sealed enough to create safe drinking water; dad remedied this problem in 2007. Playing Barbies with my cousin, who was gracious enough to play Barbies with me into her late teens. Watching innumerable movies since they didn’t have cable TV. Laughing with dad and his brothers Dave and Aaron when they came in from the harvest field. Eating French toast grandma Jan made. It was at the Kramer farm that I found my favorite move, “Blazing Saddles” which is clearly appropriate for a 10 year old girl!
As my grandparents get older, I am grateful that I was able to spend so much time with them as a kid. It was freeing to run around their properties, playing with cousins, eating strawberries out of the garden and staying up as late as I wanted. I also forged a bond with them that I feel lucky to have. I hope I can ship my kids off to grandmas too someday, although my parents, at least, will likely be at the lake instead of on the farm in Colton. DJ’s mom’s house has a great forest behind it that would be fun to explore and built forts in.
Summer always seems to go by so fast. You wait for it, and then get so busy once it’s here that you barely get a chance to enjoy it. Thinking about this last night in the perspective of my aging grandparents made me realize that I guess life is like that; you look forward to something, make plans for something, and then get through it so fast that you don’t look around and enjoy it.
I’m going to make a better effort of enjoying the here and now.