We had some of our nieces and nephews over this week to celebrate Uncle Sam’s birthday. We don’t do midday heat very well, so we asked our guests to come later in the day when our house and yard …
We had some of our nieces and nephews over this week to celebrate Uncle Sam’s birthday. We don’t do midday heat very well, so we asked our guests to come later in the day when our house and yard are in full shade. After a meal of ribs, potato salad, and baked beans we retired to the back deck where we spent a few hours watching the kids. It’s one of my favorite past times.
Most of our nieces and nephews live in subdivisions. Their yards are beautiful and suit their houses, but they aren’t designed for a yard full of kids playing the old games. We have enough room here at our house for them to stretch their legs.
I’m not sure who taught them how to play freeze tag, red-light/green-light, and kick the can, but they played these games in our yard. It’s funny because these are the games we played when I was a kid. We didn’t have phones, iPads, or other electronic games. The most high-tech toy I owned was a bicycle.
Every few minutes, one of the kids would run to the porch to get their moms to brush grass off their legs and backs. While the mamas brushed, the kids tanked up on lemonade or juice boxes. Now and then we had to doctor them up with Bactine and Band-Aids before sending them back into the game. As they say, “Fun ain’t cheap.”
I thought to myself, these kids will sleep good tonight.
Someone snapped a picture of me sitting there leaning against a deck rail. When I saw the picture, it reminded me of my mother. She lived for holidays. Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day were special to her. The weather was usually warm, and the kids could play outside instead of being underfoot.
One Fourth of July before her health declined, she played touch football in her front yard. Her grandkids and a crew of neighborhood kids ran over to join the fun. Even in her early 70s, she wasn’t a bad wide receiver, and none of them could trash talk better than her. She’d taunt the opposition with things like, “You get in my way, and I’ll call your mother you little squirt.” They usually gave her a lot of room.
All these things came to mind when I saw the picture of me on the deck. Now that I’m older, pictures are like time machines to me.
At dusk, our niece Samantha pulled a bushel of sparklers from a plastic bag. She began lighting the sparklers and passing them out. Soon our backyard was filled with what looked like fizzing lightning bugs. After those were gone, she pulled out a larger bag of multicolored sparklers. The kids ran around the yard leaving trails of rainbow smoke behind them.
Our nephew Haven provided the fireworks finale. His were the colorful aerial fireworks.
After the smoke cleared, the kids came in and tanked up on ice cream and pound cake that was fresh out of the oven.
It was a fun “Fourth” for Jilda and me. I know my mother would have loved it.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.