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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Summers Long Past

I don't know when it changed for me, but over the course of the last few years, summers have taken on a remarkably different flavor and feel to them.  Perhaps it's the convergence of all these technological wonders, but it has become clear that my youngest kids are far less interested in the things that gave me such joyous memories growing up.  Here are just a few:

Camping:  It seemed to me that we went camping frequently when I was a child.  It was an inexpensive way to get out of the house and enjoy God's creation.  Spending time in the mountains (both the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges), fishing in the rivers lakes and hanging around campfires was just too much fun.  I have fond memories of listening to my father and mother tell tales of their youth, making legendary their lives when contrasted with what was then contemporary Americana.  No cell phones, no pagers and certainly no WiFi.  For the most part, my kids don't "mind" camping, but their technology is a must - there has to be the cell phones, the iPods and video games, otherwise it is unbearable.  And forget about the telling of tales of days gone by because my kids think me to be a relic anyway.  Unimaginable is a life without an iPod.  Well, I have a news flash for the youngins - we're camping this summer and no, they won't be playing their damned games the whole time either.  And they may be forced to listen to some of my silly stories too.

Just say no to snakes.
Playing Ball:  We always had baseballs, softballs, basketballs or volleyballs laying around and if we spent more than 30 sedentary moments in the house, my mother or father was on my case to "get outside and play."  Remember those days?

Fruit-Picking:  I know it sounds odd, but in Washington State, there are apple orchards, berry fields and endless opportunities to go out and pick some fruit.  Not exactly on most people's top ten list of things to do, but there is just something really cool about going out, picking some fruit and coming home and enjoying a bowl of blackberries, a little milk and some sugar.  Every time we did this, there was some event to discuss.  Like the time we picked wild asparagus...my mother and I were never big fans of snakes and my uncle Cliff had teased us about the significant number of snakes in the area.  We rolled our pants legs into our socks and in one picture, I actually have my sweatshirt hoodie over my head because I was convinced that the snakes would somehow climb up the trees and pounce on me much like a cougar might.  Again, hilarious times.

Today, everything moves so terribly quickly.  Time seems to fly by as my head spins in a feeble attempt to keep up (and yes, it fails more and more every day).  There is always "something to be done" and the time to just relax and enjoy summer slips by and before we know it, we're back to the point when the kids are in school and a whole new schedule is created.

Technology has been a blessing to all of us, enabling us to communicate with one another expeditiously, but it also ties us down.  I can't imagine for a moment that I would have been allowed to run through the sprinkler while texting my friends from school.  Nor would my mother have allowed video games or iPods around the campfire.  Just wouldn't happen.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm getting old...