For whom the summer vacations

They should stop calling this thing between school years summer vacation. They should call it “Summer intense non-school-related activity period” or something like that.

I swear, when I was a kid, my mom fed me breakfast and sent me into the woods for the day, armed with only my imagination and a hand-me-down BB gun. Some days I even had a few BBs for it. I spent half my time searching for Iroquois artifacts and the other half playing in the creek. I never found any tomahawk heads, but I got good and wet. I’d wander home when I needed the comfort of a peanut butter sandwich.

We don’t have time to play in the woods now. We had baseball games all day Saturday, and every night this week. Before that, Big Brother went to the TV studio to tape two episodes of a local PBS show where kids do science experiments. On top of that, he’s been to basketball camp every morning this week.

Basketball season is only 3 months away.

Things will calm down a bit when baseball ends in July. Then we only have Kids’ College and some other sporadic activities.

It’s a little stressful, getting everybody where they need to be, especially during a period called vacation. It’s no vacation for parents, but I sort of love it anyway. I love that my boys have so many opportunities to experience different things and practice the things they enjoy. I love watching them play sports, and even coaching them when I can. I’ll rest later, and maybe dream of stomping in the creek.

Big Man doesn’t have as many activities as his older brothers, so he’s spending his summer bantering with his babysitters. Our latest babysitter is around my age. They got on the subject of daddies yesterday.

BIG MAN: “Why don’t you live with your daddy?”

BABYSITTER: “Because he’s really very old.”

BIG MAN: “Well, my daddy is really very old, too. And I still live with him . . .”

I guess summer vacation is the time when Big Man takes a break from shutting down his parents’ flawed logic and starts shutting down babysitters.

For all the racing around I do, getting kids to their numerous vacation activities, I think I look pretty good.




The great, golden ecdysiast in the sky

Saturday was our university’s spring football game. They divide the team in two and have an open scrimmage in the stadium. It’s not a nail-biter as far as sporting events go, but it’s getting to be a big event. It’s free and some universities bring in upwards of 100,000 fans. Ours was closer to 50,000 fans.

We weren’t among them. We were at a more important game: the second game of the first-grade spring soccer season.

I like watching Big Brother play soccer. He may not be headed for a professional career, but he likes playing. Watching him celebrate when a teammate scores a goal is worth the price of admission.

The price of admission is herding him and his brothers to the car and getting to the field on time. Not always an easy price.

New Baby fell asleep on the way, so Mommy stayed in the car with him. I spent the first half carrying Buster, so he wouldn’t run off to the adjacent playground.

It was a good game; everybody was into the action. Then Buster pointed to a small plane in the distance. As the plane neared, we could see it was trailing an advertising banner.  Buster had never seen this before, so it captured his attention. He pointed to the banner and asked what it was.

I started to explain, then lost my words as I realized the banner was advertising a local “Gentlemen’s Club.” The blonde girl-next-door-type, flapping in the wind at 1000 feet, stood next to the all-caps “SHOWGIRLS” declaration.

One by one, people began to look up. Coaches began smiling at each other. The game slowed down until it crawled to a virtual stop.

grounded stripper

Just imagine what Nettie might have accomplished behind an airplane. She was a victim of her own era.

The plane passed over and the enchanting lady in the sky diminished in our sight until she almost seemed merely two-dimensional. Buster told me the plane was going away and wasn’t coming back. He was right.

I’m glad Big Brother was in the game; otherwise I would have had to explain what a showgirl is. Buster can’t read, so all he saw was a plane pulling a big piece of paper. And that was enough.

The promotion couldn’t have been for us. Some of us are too innocent for that sort of thing, and the rest get their allowances mostly in quarters. I’m not sure how SHOWGIRLS feel about being tipped with change. Maybe if you warm it up sufficiently first, it’s all right, but I’d bet they prefer paper money.

I figured we were between the spring football game and the airfield. Otherwise, this advertiser wasn’t getting much bang for his buck. It was an inspiring message though; Big Brother scored a goal soon after. This is something he rarely does when not encouraged by heavenly blondes.

Buster had seen an airplane, and that was all he was going to get out of the game. He dragged me off to the playground for the second half. Meanwhile, Mommy slept in the car with New Baby and the iPhone. Nobody even got a picture of the pretty woman flying through the sky.