I was riding my bike through town the other day and passed by a house as the lawn was being mowed. The smell of freshly cut grass sent long ago memories flooding through my brain.
I grew up in a small subdivision in the Midwest. Kentucky bluegrass filled the yards of every home in the area. Our water was not metered until I was about 15 years old. It was a very controversial change to our little community that bordered the mighty Mississippi.
Most everyone cut their lawns on Saturday mornings and so the wondrous aroma almost overwhelmed the neighborhood. It was a day that the grownups traded pleasantries and greetings and caught up with the happenings of each family.
My mom, like many other of the wives, would be out in the front yard in her Bermuda shorts with the dandelion puller eliminating the yellow headed monsters that dotted our green oasis.
We kids planned where the best sprinkler would be running and who might be able to run their slip and slide. Soon a pick up game of street ball would erupt for some, while the rest of us strapped on our metal skates and tightened them with our skate keys and dreamed of being Olympic ice skating greats.
Living in Iowa, the corn capital of the U.S. meant that in late afternoon a ram shackled pick-up truck would drive through and everyone would go out and get 12 ears of the sweetest, freshest sweetcorn in the world for a dollar.
Charcoal grills were lit and the fragrance of lighter fluid and grilled meat filled the air. No one ate inside and we shared our food with the hordes of black flies that were just a part of life.
The ice cream truck made it to our street around 7 p.m. and we all wanted 10 cent bomb pops that were red, white and blue.
Most evenings the kids all gathered back at our house as the twilight turned to dark and the fire flies twinkled in the sky. We played kick the can, using every house and backyard in the neighborhood as our playground. No one even thought of calling the police to chase us out of their yards. It was our little piece of heaven.
Some nights, the kids from the other block came out and we played a game called war that consisted of running, tagging and pulling each other onto each others side. The rules evolved each time we played to keep the game competitive and fun.
No adults ever came out and showed us the rules, we just played and adjusted to changing circumstances as needed. Majority ruled and bullying behavior didn't get too far. Funny mishaps happened to mean kids when no adults were looking.
Times have changed, as they always do. I miss summer vacation euphoria. It isn't the same when you are an adult, even when you don't hold a nine to five job.
I expect my mother doesn't remember my summer vacations quite the same way I do. She heard her share of whining about being bored and fighting with my siblings. She was glad to send us back to school in the fall.
I still look forward to summer, but I also look forward to sending the kids back to school as well.
How many more days now?