My daughter and her family visited from Georgia recently, when the weather here in Spokane, WA was warm and lovely, when the kids came out to play after dinner and had pop sickles n’ such, or ice creams on a stick. We live in a neighborhood with a Cull de sac and have very little traffic. As a result, the kids can ‘play in the street’ always with a watchful parent nearby, of course.
Last summer I borrowed a neighbors’ tricycle for my little grandson, who was four at the time. He loved it and went on ‘walks’ with my daughter and me around the neighborhood, with this little guy on his tricycle. This summer as a five year old I thought he needed to move up to a bicycle, although he had not quite out-grown training wheels, so that’s what I borrowed this time, along with two tennis rackets (kid sizes) and some tennis balls.
It warms my heart to tell anyone within ear shot how much I loved sitting on the porch bench to watch my little grandson whack the heck out of those tennis balls. During his stay here he managed to ‘play tennis’ (as he called it) with his mom, his dad, his teenaged brother, and a twelve year old girl who lives across the street. I don’t think he missed a shot, either, but his little legs were awfully busy chasing down those balls.
Originally I’d cruised around to find fairly deserted tennis courts and planned to have a picnic in the park, take lawn chairs, etc., but the Bright-Idea Fairy visited us and said, “Hey, why not walk out in front of the house and bat a couple of balls around?” Turned out to be one of those wonderful ideas. How easy. And how rewarding for me. I even have a picture of the little guy, just after whacking the ball early one morning still wearing his pajamas bottoms and his No. 9 Zak Parise N.J. Devils T-shirt, his favorite. It’s currently the wall paper picture for my cell phone and makes me smile deeply each time I look at the phone.
Of course this all makes me remember my two beautiful granddaughters growing up with Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school graduations and beautiful young ladies now college-bound for the fall. Today, in fact, is my oldest granddaughter’s 21st. birthday. How can this be? Where have all of the summer evenings gone?
If I contemplate this long enough I’ll slip back into memories of my own children as babies, then toddlers with first steps, then school kids in a neighborhood similar to where I live now, where the kids also went out in the evenings with pop sickles and ice cream bars on sticks, to play chase and catch fire flies by the light of the moon. Summer evenings still warm my heart, and I’m quite certain they always will.