The Summer of Little Knocks

A couple of days ago I walked over to my neighbor’s house to share some of my summer abundance with her.  After debating whether to knock or ring the doorbell, I decided on the doorbell.  I mean, they have one, and so they probably appreciate that it gets used from time to time.  (Ours, on the other hand, went kerplunk a couple of years back.  Knocking suits us just fine, but mostly because we can’t seem to get the wiring right again.)

After a minute or two, their dog came to the door and pushed the curtain aside with her nose.  She stared me down but never barked.  I knew they were home, as their younger little was out playing with all the other children.  After a couple of more minutes, I sat the fruit down and headed back to my house.  About a half hour later my friend came walking down the street, shaking her head embarrassedly and laughing.  “Oh dear,” she said.  “I’m so sorry.  We were eating, and I just knew it was one of the children.  Again.”

She didn’t have to say another word.  I don’t think there’s a parent on this street who hasn’t ignored the summons to the door at one time or another this summer.  Just this evening, we heard a knock and Aub commented, “I’m guessing it’s someone under four feet tall.”

Because it usually is.

And it’s rarely for me.  Or Aub.  Or the Fella.  Our 12 and under residents are quite popular around here.

When the summer vacation for the public schools began, I wondered what this summer would bring.  Some of the children go to day camp, but most don’t–so yes, I wondered just how often the door would be knocked on and how often my children would be in and out and all over their friend’s yards playing back and forth.  As we still had a few days to finish up our school year, I hoped the knocks wouldn’t be too often those first few days of summer break.

It’s been an interesting summer really.  Some days no one knocks until evening.  Other days Cooter is out the door by 9 and he and his buddy play for an hour or so before the heat sends them scampering back indoors for a few hours.  The heat chases them inside more than they chase each other, playing this game or that–the ones we all played as youngsters or the ones they’ve specially designed for themselves.

It’s been actually quite delightful this summer, really, and I shall miss it.

Tonight was the last night of carefree summer fun.  School starts here for our friends on Friday.  Yes.  July.  In camaraderie and for lack of friends to play with once it begins, we too will start our school year then.  Tomorrow night will find all the children around here tucked in bed far earlier than they have been all summer, and they will awaken bright and early Friday morning to begin new adventures.

But tonight–tonight all the good intentions of us Mamas putting them to bed a little earlier all week in anticipation of the big day never even entered our minds.  The crew played and shouted and chased and hid, and I stood inside my front door, listening with my head bowed, close to weeping.  Such a treasured sound.  The sound of joy, of being young and carefree, of having friends and energy and good health, and laughter–oh the laughter.  My heart was full.

So I went to the garage and pulled out a chair.  I plopped it open in the middle of my front yard and set to watching and listening and soaking the last night of summer in–breathing it, savoring it, memorizing its sights and sounds and flavors.  I was soon joined by our Princess and two of her friends.  My Fella even came out and sat for a bit.  It was the best entertainment I’ve had in ages.

And I sat out there with our friends until the stars came out, as we pointed and tried to name them.

It was beautiful.

How is it that summer has flown by so quickly?  How is it that I can’t remember a whole lot of what we’ve done this summer–and yet, I’m thankful for that.

This wasn’t the summer of big trips.

It was the summer of little knocks.

And I give thanks for each one–and every heat-filled, sweat-drenched, lemonade drinking moment filled with water balloon fights, front porch performances and conversations, front yard baseball, football, and basketball games.  And the smiles.  I give thanks for them most of all.

Farewell, summer, and farewell, knocks that had me washing my hands from cooking or stopping whatever else I was doing to come to the door.  May there always be a neighborhood of friends to chase and confide in and dream with–and may we always remember this precious summer.

May we always have someone who knocks on our doors, asking if we can play.

Love to all.

Old_Brass_Door_Knocker

By Scrypted (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

At Least They Are Getting Along

English: A Nintendo DS Lite, shown with stylus.

English: A Nintendo DS Lite, shown with stylus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, truth?  I didn’t want to write this post.  There are others bumping around in my noggin, jockeying for a chance to come to the forefront and have their stories told.  But this one?  I just had no choice.  Why?

Because It’s All My Children Have Been Talking About.  For Days.

During our summer adventures we had weekly trips to run errands with a huge side helping of fun with friends of ours.  As this was not our average “run to the grocery store” trip in length, my crew was very happy that their friends brought along their electronic game players and two to share.  They could all play the same game together (I have no idea how), which made it really fun.  So much so that my oldest pulled her game player out for the first time in a long time so she could play along.  That was lots of fun to listen to from the driver’s seat.  The laughter was near about intoxicating.  Happy children often makes for a happy Mama.

So I guess it’s only natural that the littles have decided that they want game players of their own.  They have gone through every possible scenario in their minds–big sister will give us hers and she will buy herself a new and better one, we will each get one for our birthdays, we will each get one for Christmas.  And then being assured Aub wasn’t letting go of hers, and deciding that Christmas was too far away, they decided to save money for it.

They’ve asked me if they can do things for pay.  Our Princess carries her change pouch EVERYWHERE just in case we are somewhere that she could purchase this name brand electronic contraption for a song and a dance and probably $2.52, all in pennies and dimes.  But mostly pennies.  It has been interesting to hear the planning and plotting of my two littles.  For one thing they are getting along.  That has been REALLY nice.  They are problem solving and working together.

A snippet of tonight’s conversation:

“Mama she (Princess) said she’d buy the games and cases if I (Cooter) buy the devices.  Isn’t that a good idea?”

“Well, buddy, sure, but where are y’all getting money from?  You have no money.”

Princess piped in. “Yes we do.  I have my purse and I have been saving money FOR THREE YEARS.  And he has his school bus bank.”

“Yeah,” said Cooter proudly. “I have about one hundred and three cents!”

Yeah.  That sounds about right.  Don’t judge, people, money skills are next semester.

After explaining to him that the total was only about a dollar,  I found myself looking at an undaunted child.  They are determined.  Another snippet:

Princess: “Hey Cooter, if you come keep me company, I will buy the devices and let you buy the games and cases.”

“Okay.” And off he went.  Happily.

Oh my.  I got no idea y’all.

But it works.  They haven’t fought about anything really since joining forces.  Well except for him taking apart a Lego minifigure that she’d built.  But that is so minor it hardly counts.  It has been really nice.  And when they put their heads together and come up with what they think is the perfect plan, they clap and get so excited.  I confess I look forward to hearing each new plan.

So what do I do?  Should I be upset that they are pretty close to obsessing over these things or should I admire their dogged determination? I don’t want my children to become electronics junkies.  We’re already headed towards that path.  (But is it really a problem if they are begging to watch Gilligan’s Island in the car? Really?)  I have to limit their screentime and then work on not sitting in front of one of my own so much.  Easier said than done.

On the other hand, I know part of the reason they want their own is that they want to capture some of the fun and adventure of the time they spent with their friends this summer.  Riding up and down Highway 247 in the van, playing all kinds of games.  Together.  And that’s the other thing.  Their greatest excitement about getting these devices is that they can play the games together.  And that does make me happy.  That my children want to be together, play together.  That is huge.  The fact that they are all piled up in here with me right now, snuggled together looking at a book, talking about their favorite movies, and laughing together…..that is more than I hoped for.  Getting along, yes.  Wanting to be and do things with each other, priceless.

I don’t know whether they will wind up getting their devices, and if they do, I don’t know when.  But I do know that I will savor every minute of listening to them all planning and talking and having fun together.  The joy of just being together.  The gift that lasts a lifetime.

 

When the Family Gets Together

That's not something you see very often!

That’s not something you see very often

In my travels up and down 247 back and forth to Macon a few months back, I saw this sign.  That is not something you see very often, is it?

But once upon a time…..

Some of my fondest summer memories are of time spent with my cousins.  Mama and my Aunt loaded all seven and then eight of us up in the Chevy II Nova (way back in the days before mandatory car seats and seat belt laws), and we headed up to Macon.  The Museum of Arts and Sciences hosted movie mornings in the summer. I think it was every Tuesday and Thursday, but I can’t be sure now.  On the planetarium walls I saw many of the old Disney classics–Cannonball Express, The Ugly Dachshund, Candleshoe, and Escape to Witch Mountain, among many others.  Oh I loved the cool air and the comfortable seats in the planetarium.  When we left the cool darkness, the bright sunlight and steamy, sweltering heat made us blink and immediately enveloped us on the short walk back to the car.

After the movie, we often (okay my perspective, may not have been THAT often) went by the Krystal’s drive-thru and picked up burgers on the way home.  Back then 25 cent Krystals were not so unusual.  I can remember a head count being done–how many can you eat? was asked of the older ones and extras were added for the younger ones.  I wonder what those folks thought when Mama and my Aunt ordered 35 or 40 Krystals at a time.  With coupons.  Good times.

So many fun times spent together, especially in the summers.  Pots of chili or spaghetti spooned out in numerous bowls.  Playing Colored Ribbons or Cowboys and Indians in their yard or ours.  The Barbie Wedding.  Easter Egg Hunts and now Turkey Egg Hunts too.  Movie marathons on the Video Disc Players.  Remember those?  The thing holding the movie was shaped like a record album.  Remember those? Oh. Never mind.  Suffice to say, great times then.  Piled up in my Aunt and Uncle’s living room.  Star Wars–the original movies.  The Man From Snowy River.  The room was so dark and the picture on their color tv was so bright.  Almost like our own mini movie theater.

I am thinking of my cousins tonight as one of the best cousins ever has her birthday today.  And in the past week my own children have spent lots of fun times with some of their cousins.  And it’s also my niece’s birthday.  Yeah, I’ve got cousins on the brain.  And family.  And Krystal’s.  But that’s another story.

I am lucky to have a close family, where second and third generations out, we gather and love each other, share laughter and tears, and have each other’s backs.  If I am in a bind, I know who to call.

Tonight I am thankful for my cousins, who know me and oddly enough, seem to love me anyway.  I am thankful for my children’s cousins, and second cousins, and third, who brighten their lives and mine–with their creativity, imaginations, sweet spirits, and downright fun outlooks on life.  I give thanks for Mama and Daddy and all my aunts and uncles who made family a priority and made sure we had these great memories to turn back to on days like today.  And I’m grateful to Rody Davenport Jr. and J. Glenn Sherrill.  Oh, they’re the folks who invented and founded Krystal’s.  I don’t eat their burgers as often as I used to, but I still love them and the memories they carry with them.

A Hallmark card I got years ago--yep, this is how we roll.....

A Hallmark card I got years ago–yep, this is how we roll…..

Some fun Krystal facts: (from Wikipedia)

The first customer, French Jenkins, ordered a cup of coffee and six Krystals–for 35 cents

The focus for the restaurant from the beginning was cleanliness.  Mrs. Davenport suggested the name based on a crystal ball lawn ornament she saw–thinking of crystal clear and clean together, with a K for a twist

It first opened in 1932–it is the oldest hamburger chain in the South

Brenda Webb took her name from the chain after her sister Loretta Lynn suggested it–to Crystal Gayle

The current world record for eating Krystal burgers is 103 burgers consumed in 8 minutes by Joey Chestnut, set on October 28, 2007.