The weather here on the Front Porch is lovely this morning. Pull up a rocker, and let me get you a cup of coffee. This is the height of summer. Mornings like this were made for porch sitting, listening to the birds and the hiss of sprinklers in the neighborhood, while preparing for another summer day.
Last night, as I was lying on my couch reading a good book, I heard the crickets for the first time. Now maybe they have been here all along, and maybe I have just been too busy this summer to notice them, but last night their chorus of chirping floated through the open windows with a soft breeze. Summer. How many has it been now? 42 by my count, which still surprises me when I see it. Can it be? Can I really be approaching a half century? Some days my body feels every one of those 42 years, but I’d be lying if I said I felt any more mature now than I did at 21. I still drive home with the music turned up too loud, singing along with Weezer like a teenager. Time I got Back to “The Good Life” indeed.
Just like summer life has a way of sneaking up on a person. You plod along with your head down focused on the chores and distractions of the day until one evening you drop onto the couch exhausted, close your eyes, and hear the crickets again as if for the first time. These are the glorious, long, hot days of summer. The lazy days of porch sitting, and trips to the swimming pool on your bike, with 25 cents in your pocket and a towel around your neck. You’d use the quarter to rent the locker, get it back when you returned the key, then buy yourself a candy bar from the vending machine. Maybe a nice salty “Payday” for a sweaty summer afternoon. Maybe if it was a weekend Mom and Dad drove you up to Crystal Beach to escape the heat.
Sadly, Crystal Beach is long gone, and even the city pool has long since been filled in. More victims of a society too sophisticated, and busy to enjoy the simple things. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. iPod’s, Wii’s, and family vacations to Disney, while one by one the little amusements parks fall prey to the developers blade. Roseland, Crystal Beach, and many others around WNY.
I mention them because I came across this great little article on the history of “trolley parks”. The little amusement parks that seemed to sit on the edge of every city when I was a kid. Sadly, very few of them remain. Here in Minnesota they are long gone. Seems like only in little Eastern outposts do any of them remain.
So before I descend into Grandpa Simpson territory again, maybe I should call it a post and go back to my coffee. Mornings like this are not to be wasted. You never know how many more you have left.